Achievements & Chronology

Reaching the mountain top

Martin Luther King Jr's Achievements

Time's person of the year!

Won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence.

Congressional Gold Medal


King was born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, the second of three children to the Reverend Michael King Sr. and Alberta King. King's mother named him Michael, which was entered onto the birth certificate by the attending physician.

The King family -- Martin Luther King, Sr. (Daddy King), Alberta Williams King, Willie Christine King, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Alfred Daniel Williams King (known as A. D. King) -- moves from 501 Auburn Avenue to 193 Boulevard in Atlanta.

In September 1944, Martin Luther King began his studies at Morehouse College in Atlanta, following in the footsteps of his father, Martin Luther King, Sr., and his maternal grandfather, A. D. Williams. His experiences outside the classroom set him on a path toward the ministry and the struggle for civil rights.
The Civil Rights period begins, defined as the time period between 1945 and 1968 in which Civil Rights organizations and leaders actively campaigned for voting, housing, education, employment, and equal treatment. Led to the end of legal segregation in the United States.

The Atlanta Constitution publishes King’s letter to the editor stating that black people "are entitled to the basic rights and opportunities of American citizens." Read the Letter Here

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. publishes "The Purpose of Education." King argues that education has both a utilitarian and a moral function. Citing the example of Georgia’s former governor Eugene Talmadge, he asserts that reasoning ability is not enough. He insists that character and moral development are necessary to give the critical intellect humane purposes.

King is ordained and appointed assistant pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

King receives his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Morehouse College.

King begins his studies at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania.

President Harry Truman issues Executive Order 9981 to end segregation in the Armed Services.
King graduates from Crozer with a bachelor of divinity degree, delivering the valedictory address at commencement. King begins his graduate studies in systematic theology at Boston University.

King and Coretta Scott are married at the Scott home near Marion, Alabama.

King begins his pastorate at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

Brown v. Board of Education, a consolidation of five cases into one, is decided by the Supreme Court, effectively ending racial segregation in public schools. Many schools, however, remained segregated.

King is awarded his doctorate in systematic theology from Boston University.

Yolanda Denise King, the Kings’ first child, is born.

Jo Ann Robinson and other Women’s Political Council members mimeograph thousands of leaflets calling for a one-day boycott of the city’s buses on Monday, 5 December.

At a mass meeting at Holt Street Baptist Church, the Montgomery Improvement Association(MIA) is formed. King becomes its president.

Emmett Till, a 14-year-old from Chicago is brutally murdered in Mississippi for allegedly flirting with a white woman. His murderers are acquitted, and the case brings international attention to the civil rights movement after Jet magazine publishes a photo of Till’s beaten body at his open-casket funeral. Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. Her defiant stance prompts a year-long Montgomery bus boycott.

King leads a march of six thousand protesters in support of striking sanitation workers in Memphis. The march descends into violence and looting, and King is rushed from the scene.
King returns to Memphis, determined to lead a peaceful march. During an evening rally at Mason Temple in Memphis, King delivers his final speech, "I’ve Been to the Mountaintop."
King is shot and killed while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.
Governor Winthrop Rockefeller hosts the first vigil honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King is buried in Atlanta.