Michael King Junior popularly known in our histories as Martin Luther King Junior, was born on January 15, 1929 in the Segregated South of Atlanta Georgia to a Baptist Minister Michael King Snr and his wife Alberta Williams King.

Martin Luther King Junior was assassinated by James Earl Ray on the 4th of April, 1968 while supporting a strike by the city’s sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee.

On Wednesday April 3 1968, he had travelled to Tennessee to get settled before leading a march in support of Memphis sanitation workers who were on strike the next day.

However, on the following day April 4, he stepped out onto the balcony of room 306 to chat with Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) colleagues who were waiting in the parking lot below as he prepared to depart the Lorraine Motel for a meal at the residence of Memphis preacher Samuel “Billy” Kyles. He was shot dead at the lower right side of his face and was severely wounded by a single shot from an assassin.

An American civil rights activists and Baptist, Ralph Abernathy held his head as SCLC staff members flocked him. Others on the balcony pointed across the street in the direction of the South Main Street rear of a boarding house, where the gunfire appeared to have come from.

There were numerous ways in which his acts aided civil rights as he maintained a vision for a more diverse America where all people enjoyed the benefits of equality.
In the year 1955, King spearheaded the 385-day Montgomery Bus Boycott, in response to Rosa Parks’ arrest under segregation laws. It came to an end following a 1956 judgement, when the Supreme Court declared that segregation on public buses was unconstitutional.

King urged the Birmingham community in 1963 through the Birmingham Campaign to condemn police brutality and injustice. The march took place in Washington DC. With over 250,000 participants. He also saw to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Due to the passage of this law, racial, ethnic, religious, sex, and national origin discrimination are no longer permitted in public spaces. It is considered one of the primary legislative achievements of the civil rights movement. King’s activism influenced the limitations of the act.

By: Rosemary Enam Ackorlie

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