His mother was an accomplished organist and choir leader who took him to various churches to sing, and he received attention for singing "I Want to Be More and More Like Jesus". King later became a member of the junior choir in his church. When the boys were six, they started school: King had to attend a school for African Americans and the other boy went to one for whites public schools were among the facilities segregated by state law.
King lost his friend because the child's father no longer wanted the boys to play together. In his adolescent years, he initially felt resentment against whites due to the "racial humiliation" that he, his family, and his neighbors often had to endure in the segregated South. At the age of 13, he denied the bodily resurrection of Jesus during Sunday school.
He became known for his public speaking ability and was part of the school's debate team. On the ride home to Atlanta by bus, he and his teacher were ordered by the driver to stand so that white passengers could sit down. King initially refused but complied after his teacher told him that he would be breaking the law if he did not submit.
During this incident, King said that he was "the angriest I have ever been in my life. At that time, many students had abandoned further studies to enlist in World War II. Due to this, Morehouse was eager to fill its classrooms.
At the age of 15, King passed the exam and entered Morehouse. He had concluded that the church offered the most assuring way to answer "an inner urge to serve humanity. King became fond of the street because a classmate had an aunt who prepared collard greens for them, which they both relished. The daughter had been involved with a professor prior to her relationship with King.
King planned to marry her, but friends advised against it, saying that an interracial marriage would provoke animosity from both blacks and whites, potentially damaging his chances of ever pastoring a church in the South.
King tearfully told a friend that he could not endure his mother's pain over the marriage and broke the relationship off six months later.
He continued to have lingering feelings toward the women he left; one friend was quoted as saying, "He never recovered. Martin Luther King Jr. Hester was an old friend of King's father, and was an important influence on King. However, "[d]espite its finding, the committee said that 'no thought should be given to the revocation of Dr.
King's doctoral degree,' an action that the panel said would serve no purpose. King was on the committee from the Birmingham African-American community that looked into the case; E. Nixon and Clifford Durr decided to wait for a better case to pursue because the incident involved a minor. Gayle that ended racial segregation on all Montgomery public buses. The group was created to harness the moral authority and organizing power of black churches to conduct nonviolent protests in the service of civil rights reform.
The group was inspired by the crusades of evangelist Billy Graham , who befriended King after he attended a Graham crusade in New York City. Harris , Walter E. Izola Curry —a mentally ill black woman who thought that King was conspiring against her with communists—stabbed him in the chest with a letter opener. King underwent emergency surgery with three doctors: Cordice ; he remained hospitalized for several weeks.
Curry was later found mentally incompetent to stand trial. Sullivan ; the case was litigated in reference to the newspaper advertisement " Heed Their Rising Voices ".
Wachtel founded a tax-exempt fund to cover the expenses of the suit and to assist the nonviolent civil rights movement through a more effective means of fundraising. This organization was named the "Gandhi Society for Human Rights. He was displeased with the pace that President Kennedy was using to address the issue of segregation.
In , King and the Gandhi Society produced a document that called on the President to follow in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln and issue an executive order to deliver a blow for civil rights as a kind of Second Emancipation Proclamation. Kennedy did not execute the order. Johnson and Robert F. Kennedy with civil rights leaders, June 22, Kennedy when it began tapping King's telephone line in the fall of He warned King to discontinue these associations and later felt compelled to issue the written directive that authorized the FBI to wiretap King and other SCLC leaders.
Edgar Hoover feared the civil rights movement and investigated the allegations of communist infiltration. Journalistic accounts and televised footage of the daily deprivation and indignities suffered by Southern blacks, and of segregationist violence and harassment of civil rights workers and marchers, produced a wave of sympathetic public opinion that convinced the majority of Americans that the civil rights movement was the most important issue in American politics in the early s.
There were often dramatic stand-offs with segregationist authorities, who sometimes turned violent. This included opposition by more militant blacks such as Nation of Islam member Malcolm X. The movement mobilized thousands of citizens for a broad-front nonviolent attack on every aspect of segregation within the city and attracted nationwide attention. When King first visited on December 15, , he "had planned to stay a day or so and return home after giving counsel.
According to King, "that agreement was dishonored and violated by the city" after he left town. Three days into his sentence, Police Chief Laurie Pritchett discreetly arranged for King's fine to be paid and ordered his release. But for the first time, we witnessed being kicked out of jail.
King requested a halt to all demonstrations and a "Day of Penance" to promote nonviolence and maintain the moral high ground. Divisions within the black community and the canny, low-key response by local government defeated efforts. After Albany, King sought to choose engagements for the SCLC in which he could control the circumstances, rather than entering into pre-existing situations.
Birmingham campaign King was arrested in for protesting the treatment of blacks in Birmingham. The campaign used nonviolent but intentionally confrontational tactics, developed in part by Rev. Black people in Birmingham, organizing with the SCLC, occupied public spaces with marches and sit-ins , openly violating laws that they considered unjust. King's intent was to provoke mass arrests and "create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.
Over the concerns of an uncertain King, SCLC strategist James Bevel changed the course of the campaign by recruiting children and young adults to join in the demonstrations. Footage of the police response was broadcast on national television news and dominated the nation's attention, shocking many white Americans and consolidating black Americans behind the movement.
In some cases, bystanders attacked the police, who responded with force. King and the SCLC were criticized for putting children in harm's way. But the campaign was a success: Connor lost his job, the "Jim Crow" signs came down, and public places became more open to blacks.
King's reputation improved immensely. King argues that the crisis of racism is too urgent, and the current system too entrenched: I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: Augustine, Florida, Main article: Hayling's group had been affiliated with the NAACP but was forced out of the organization for advocating armed self-defense alongside nonviolent tactics.
However, the pacifist SCLC accepted them. Augustine , including a delegation of rabbis and the year-old mother of the governor of Massachusetts, all of whom were arrested. During the course of this movement, the Civil Rights Act of was passed.
This injunction temporarily halted civil rights activity until King defied it by speaking at Brown Chapel on January 2, In these remarks, King referred to a conversation he had recently had with Jawaharlal Nehru in which he compared the sad condition of many African Americans to that of India's untouchables. King, representing the SCLC, was among the leaders of the "Big Six" civil rights organizations who were instrumental in the organization of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom , which took place on August 28, Kennedy in changing the focus of the march.
However, the organizers were firm that the march would proceed. President Kennedy was concerned the turnout would be less than , Therefore, he enlisted the aid of additional church leaders and Walter Reuther , president of the United Automobile Workers , to help mobilize demonstrators for the cause. The march originally was conceived as an event to dramatize the desperate condition of blacks in the southern U. Organizers intended to denounce the federal government for its failure to safeguard the civil rights and physical safety of civil rights workers and blacks.
The group acquiesced to presidential pressure and influence, and the event ultimately took on a far less strident tone. The march made specific demands: At the time, it was the largest gathering of protesters in Washington, D. In the speech's most famous passage—in which he departed from his prepared text, possibly at the prompting of Mahalia Jackson , who shouted behind him, "Tell them about the dream! It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
In , Raveling, then 26, was standing near the podium, and immediately after the oration, impulsively asked King if he could have his copy of the speech. The first attempt to march on March 7, , was aborted because of mob and police violence against the demonstrators. This day has become known as Bloody Sunday and was a major turning point in the effort to gain public support for the civil rights movement.
It was the clearest demonstration up to that time of the dramatic potential of King's nonviolence strategy. King, however, was not present. He did not attend the march due to church duties, but he later wrote, "If I had any idea that the state troopers would use the kind of brutality they did, I would have felt compelled to give up my church duties altogether to lead the line.