Martin Luther King Jr. Facts and Quotes for Kids

  • Martin Luther King Jr. was an important leader and activist in the Civil Rights Movement.
  • He was born Michael King Jr. on January 15th 1929 in Atlanta Georgia.
  • His father Michael King was a pastor of Ebenezer Baptist church.
  • Later Michael King and Michael King Jr. changed their names to Martin Luther after German Protestant leader Martin Luther.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. skipped 9th and 12th grade and entered college at the age of 15.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. first attended Morehouse College and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. He then went to Crozer Theological Seminary and received a degree in Divinity (religious studies), later he received a doctrine at Boston University.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. married Coretta Scott in 1953.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King had four children: Yolanda, Martin Luther King III, Dexter and Bernice.
  • He became a pastor at Dexter Ave Baptist Church in Montgomery Alabama.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
  • In 1955 he took leadership of the Montgomery Bus Boycott where Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat and moving to the back of the bus for a white man.
  • The Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted a year and on November 13th 1956 the supreme court declared segregation on busses was unconstitutional.
  • In 1957 along with other civil rights activists Martin Luther King Jr. founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to organize and conduct non-violent protests for civil rights.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. with other civil rights activists will go on to lead many non-violent protests for civil rights around the country.
  • In February 1959 Martin Luther King Jr. traveled to India to study Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of non-violence.
  • Gandhi’s principles of peaceful resistance had a lasting impression on Martin Luther King Jr., he used them in his fight against racial discrimination.
  • On June 23rd 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. lead a Freedom Walk in Detroit Michigan, 125,000 took part in the walk.
  • On August 28th 1963 at a historic march in Washington DC for jobs, freedom, racial equality and the end of discrimination Martin Luther King delivered his “I have a dream” speech.
  • On October 14th 1964 Martin Luther King Jr. became the youngest man (age 35) to receive a Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through non-violence.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested many times during his protests for civil rights.
  • November 27 1967 Martin Luther King announces the Poor People Campaign focusing on jobs and freedom for the poor of all races.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. also protested against the Vietnam war.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4th 1968 on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee.
  • On November 2nd 1983 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill to declare Martin Luther King Jr. Day in remembrance of all the great things he did to fight for civil rights.
  • He was the first African American to be granted a national holiday.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated the third Monday on January.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated in January because his birthday is in January.
  • Martin Luther King Day was celebrated for the first time on January 20th 1986.
  • All 50 states did not recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day at a paid day off holiday until 2000.
  • Utah was the last state to declare Martin Luther King Jr. a holiday.
  • Over 1,000 streets are named after Martin Luther King Jr.


Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do keep moving forward.”

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.”

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”

“A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

“The quality, not the longevity of one’s life is what is important.”

“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”

“We must use time creatively.”

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

“Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.”

“A riot is the language of the unheard.”

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

“A lie cannot live.”

“Whenever men and women straighten their backs up they are going somewhere, because a man can’t ride your back unless it is bent.”

“Courage faces fear and thereby masters it.”

“If we do an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, we will be a blind and toothless nation.”

“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”

“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.”

“Free at last, Free at last, thank god almighty we are free at last.”