"Certainly I don't want to die. But if anyone has to die, let it be me."
Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist minister and civil rights leader was born January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, and assassinated April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. There was always something special about Martin Luther King, Jr., even as a child, according to his father. He loved books and liked to keep them around him, even before he could read. King early recognized his talent as an orator and sought ways for its best use. He deliberated for years about becoming a minister like his father but felt that the ministry was not sufficiently intellectual to allow him to speak on contemporary problems. He then considered medicine, law, and other professions, but he remained unable to make up his mind. In 1940 King entered Morehouse College, having skipped a year in high school. He majored in sociology and in his junior year decided to enter the ministry. Voicing his opinion on the role of education, he wrote, "The function of education .. is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society... The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals."
After graduating from Morehouse College in 1948, King entered Crozer Theological Seminary to further his training for the ministry. While there he attended a lecture by Modecai Johnson, president of Howard University, on Indian pacifist Mahatma Gandhi. Johnson's lecture provided King the direction he needed for his life. "His message was so profound and electrifying," King later said, "that I left the meeting and bought a half dozen books on Gandhi's life and works."
After graduating from Crozer in 1951 with the highest grade average in his class, King entered Boston University as a doctoral student. In Boston he met his future wife, Coretta Scott, who was studying voice at the New England Conservatory of Music. King received his doctorate from Boston University in 1955, then became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. The future course of his ministry became apparent when he joined the supporters of Rosa Parks, a black woman who had been arrested in Montgomery for quietly refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person. King also began his relationship with Ralph Abernathy, a minister with whom he would work for the rest of his life.
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Martin Luther King ,Jr. Biography
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