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Martin Luther King's Biography

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Martin Luther King, Jr was born in Atlanta, Georgia on 15 January 1929 and died in 1968 when he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on 4 April.

He led the black boycott of the Montgomery bus company in 1955 and in 1957 Martin Luther King helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which organised civil rights activities throughout America.

The BBC has an article, King convicted for bus boycott, which has the audio of a Martin Luther King speech.

Martin Luther King consistently promoted a campaign of non-violence. In 1958 in Strides Towards Freedom, he stated: 'He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it.'

On 28 August 1963 he delivered his famous speech ("I have a dream") to a crowd of 200,000 demonstrators in Washington.

Martin Luther King was a brilliant orator, and this speech has gone down in history as one of the most inspirational ever. The full sentence runs 'I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.'

His work as a civil rights activist led to him being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and Martin Luther King Day has been named a national holiday in the US.

Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee by James Earl Ray. Question marks still surround his assassination.

Martin Luther King had been the subject of extraordinary harassment and paranoia on the part of the FBI and its director J. Edgar Hoover. After his death the extent of the FBI's illegal surveillance and other operations started to emerge. A Martin Luther King Jr. Review Task Force was set up, after allegations of a conspiracy behind his assassination. Here are a couple of extracts from their report:

King and J Edgar Hoover

King and J Edgar Hoover


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