142 Facts About Martin Luther King


Martin Luther King oversaw the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and later became the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

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Martin Luther King was one of the leaders of the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

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The FBI in 1964 mailed Martin Luther King a threatening anonymous letter, which he interpreted as an attempt to make him commit suicide.

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On October 14,1964, Martin Luther King won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance.

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In 1968, Martin Luther King was planning a national occupation of Washington, DC, to be called the Poor People's Campaign, when he was assassinated on April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Martin Luther King's death was followed by national mourning, as well as anger leading to riots in many US cities.

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Martin Luther King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2003.

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Martin Luther King visited sites in Germany associated with the Reformation leader, Martin Luther.

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Martin Luther King, believing her dead, blamed himself and attempted suicide by jumping from a second-story window.

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Martin Luther King became friends with a white boy whose father owned a business across the street from his family's home.

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Martin Luther King had to attend a school for black children, Younge Street Elementary School, while his close playmate went to a separate school for white children only.

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When Martin Luther King relayed the happenings to his parents, they had a long discussion with him about the history of slavery and racism in America.

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Martin Luther King's parents instructed him that it was his Christian duty to love everyone.

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Martin Luther King witnessed his father stand up against segregation and various forms of discrimination.

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When Martin Luther King's father took him into a shoe store in downtown Atlanta, the clerk told them they needed to sit in the back.

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Martin Luther King's father refused, stating "we'll either buy shoes sitting here or we won't buy any shoes at all", before taking Martin Luther King and leaving the store.

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Martin Luther King memorized and sang hymns, and stated verses from the Bible, by the time he was five years old.

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Martin Luther King later became a member of the junior choir in his church.

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Martin Luther King got into physical altercations with boys in his neighborhood, but oftentimes used his knowledge of words to stymie fights.

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In 1939, Martin Luther King sang as a member of his church choir in slave costume, for the all-white audience at the Atlanta premiere of the film Gone with the Wind.

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In September 1940, at the age of 11, Martin Luther King was enrolled at the Atlanta University Laboratory School for the seventh grade.

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On May 18,1941, when Martin Luther King had sneaked away from studying at home to watch a parade, Martin Luther King was informed that something had happened to his maternal grandmother.

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Martin Luther King jumped out of a second-story window at his home, but again survived an attempt to kill himself.

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Martin Luther King's father instructed him in his bedroom that King should not blame himself for her death, and that she had been called home to God as part of God's plan that could not be changed.

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Martin Luther King struggled with this, and could not fully believe that his parents knew where his grandmother had gone.

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Shortly thereafter, Martin Luther King's father decided to move the family to a two-story brick home on a hill that overlooked downtown Atlanta.

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In 1942, when Martin Luther King was 13 years old, he became the youngest assistant manager of a newspaper delivery station for the Atlanta Journal.

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That year, King skipped the ninth grade and was enrolled in Booker T Washington High School, where he maintained a B-plus average.

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Martin Luther King began to question the literalist teachings preached at his father's church.

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Martin Luther King said that he found himself unable to identify with the emotional displays and gestures from congregants frequent at his church, and doubted if he would ever attain personal satisfaction from religion.

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In high school, Martin Luther King became known for his public-speaking ability, with a voice that had grown into an orotund baritone.

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Martin Luther King continued to be most drawn to history and English, and chose English and sociology to be his main subjects while at the school.

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Martin Luther King developed an interest in fashion, commonly adorning himself in well polished patent leather shoes and tweed suits, which gained him the nickname "Tweed" or "Tweedie" among his friends.

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Martin Luther King further grew a liking for flirting with girls and dancing.

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Martin Luther King initially refused but complied after his teacher told him that he would be breaking the law if he did not follow the directions of the driver.

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In 1944, at the age of 15, Martin Luther King passed the entrance examination and was enrolled at the university for the school season that autumn.

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Martin Luther King wrote to his parents about the lack of segregation in Connecticut, relaying how he was amazed they could go to "one of the finest restaurants in Hartford" and that "Negroes and whites go to the same church".

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Martin Luther King became fond of the street because a classmate had an aunt who prepared collard greens for them, which they both relished.

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Martin Luther 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.

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Martin Luther 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.

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Martin Luther King applied to the University of Edinburgh to do his doctorate in the School of Divinity.

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In 1951, Martin Luther King began doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University.

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Hester was an old friend of Martin Luther King's father and was an important influence on Martin Luther King.

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In Boston, Martin Luther King befriended a small cadre of local ministers his age, and sometimes guest pastored at their churches, including Michael Haynes, associate pastor at Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury.

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Martin Luther King attended philosophy classes at Harvard University as an audit student in 1952 and 1953.

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At the age of 25 in 1954, Martin Luther King was called as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

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Martin Luther King had been an activist at Antioch in undergrad, where Carol and Rod Serling were schoolmates.

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Martin Luther King married Coretta Scott on June 18,1953, on the lawn of her parents' house in her hometown of Heiberger, Alabama.

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In December 1959, after being based in Montgomery for five years, Martin Luther King announced his return to Atlanta at the request of the SCLC.

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Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King was called to be a minister in 1954, was influential in the Montgomery, Alabama, African-American community.

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Martin Luther King was in his twenties, and had just taken up his clerical role.

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Martin Luther King was hesitant about taking the role but decided to do so if no one else wanted it.

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Martin Luther King was arrested and jailed during this campaign, which overnight drew the attention of national media, and greatly increased Martin Luther King's public stature.

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Martin Luther King was displeased with the pace that President Kennedy was using to address the issue of segregation.

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Martin Luther King 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.

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Martin Luther King believed that organized, nonviolent protest against the system of southern segregation known as Jim Crow laws would lead to extensive media coverage of the struggle for black equality and voting rights.

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On September 20,1958, Martin Luther King was signing copies of his book Stride Toward Freedom in Blumstein's department store in Harlem when he narrowly escaped death.

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Izola Curry—a mentally ill black woman who thought that Martin Luther King was conspiring against her with communists—stabbed him in the chest with a letter opener, which nearly impinged on the aorta.

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Martin Luther King received first aid by police officers Al Howard and Philip Romano.

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On May 4,1960, several months after his return, Martin Luther King drove writer Lillian Smith to Emory University when police stopped them.

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Martin Luther King was cited for "driving without a license" because he had not yet been issued a Georgia license.

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Martin Luther King paid a fine but was unaware that his lawyer agreed to a plea deal that included a probationary sentence.

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Martin Luther King participated in a sit-in at the restaurant inside Rich's, Atlanta's largest department store, and was among the many arrested that day.

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Nixon, with whom Martin Luther King had a closer relationship before, declined to make a statement despite a personal visit from Jackie Robinson requesting his intervention.

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On March 7,1961, a group of Black elders including Martin Luther King notified student leaders that a deal had been reached: the city's lunch counters would desegregate in fall 1961, in conjunction with the court-mandated desegregation of schools.

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Martin Luther King then gave an impassioned speech calling participants to resist the "cancerous disease of disunity, " and helping to calm tensions.

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Martin Luther King returned in July 1962 and was given the option of forty-five days in jail or a $178 fine ; he chose jail.

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Martin Luther King requested a halt to all demonstrations and a "Day of Penance" to promote nonviolence and maintain the moral high ground.

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Martin Luther King was arrested and jailed early in the campaign—his 13th arrest out of 29.

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Martin Luther 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 28,1963.

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Martin Luther King delivered a 17-minute speech, later known as "I Have a Dream".

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The March, and especially Martin Luther King's speech, helped put civil rights at the top of the agenda of reformers in the United States and facilitated passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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On May 7,1964, Martin Luther King spoke at Saint Francis College's "The Negro and the Quest for Identity, " in Biddeford, Maine.

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Martin Luther King spoke about how "We must get rid of the idea of superior and inferior races, " through nonviolent tactics.

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Dr Martin Luther King's speech had been rebroadcast on Amherst's student-run radio station, WAMF.

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Martin Luther King discusses the next phase of the civil rights movement and integration.

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Martin Luther King helped elevate the labor dispute from a local to nationally-known event and led the SCLC to organize a nationwide boycott of Scripto products.

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The first attempt to march on March 7,1965, at which Martin Luther King was not present, was aborted because of mob and police violence against the demonstrators.

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Martin Luther King later stated and Abernathy wrote that the movement received a worse reception in Chicago than in the South.

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Martin Luther King was long opposed to American involvement in the Vietnam War, but at first avoided the topic in public speeches in order to avoid the interference with civil rights goals that criticism of President Johnson's policies might have created.

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At the urging of SCLC's former Director of Direct Action and now the head of the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, James Bevel, and inspired by the outspokenness of Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King eventually agreed to publicly oppose the war as opposition was growing among the American public.

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Martin Luther King opposed the Vietnam War because it took money and resources that could have been spent on social welfare at home.

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Martin Luther King began to speak of the need for fundamental changes in the political and economic life of the nation, and more frequently expressed his opposition to the war and his desire to see a redistribution of resources to correct racial and economic injustice.

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Martin Luther King guarded his language in public to avoid being linked to communism by his enemies, but in private he sometimes spoke of his support for social democracy and democratic socialism.

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King's stance on Vietnam encouraged Allard K Lowenstein, William Sloane Coffin and Norman Thomas, with the support of anti-war Democrats, to attempt to persuade King to run against President Johnson in the 1968 United States presidential election.

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Martin Luther King contemplated but ultimately decided against the proposal on the grounds that he felt uneasy with politics and considered himself better suited for his morally unambiguous role as an activist.

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In 1967, Martin Luther King gave a famous speech at the Riverside Church in New York City, his first to publicly question the US involvement in Vietnam.

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Later that year, Martin Luther King nominated Nhat Hanh for the 1967 Nobel Peace Prize.

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Martin Luther King quoted from Henry George and George's book, Progress and Poverty, particularly in support of a guaranteed basic income.

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On March 29,1968, Martin Luther King went to Memphis, Tennessee, in support of the black sanitary public works employees, who were represented by AFSCME Local 1733.

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Martin Luther King was booked in Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

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Martin Luther King gave a short, improvised speech to the gathering of supporters informing them of the tragedy and urging them to continue King's ideal of nonviolence.

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Criticism of Martin Luther King's plan was subdued in the wake of his death, and the SCLC received an unprecedented wave of donations for the purpose of carrying it out.

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Martin Luther King was using the alias Ramon George Sneyd on his way to white-ruled Rhodesia.

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Martin Luther King confessed to the assassination on March 10,1969, though he recanted this confession three days later.

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Martin Luther King spent the remainder of his life attempting, unsuccessfully, to withdraw his guilty plea and secure the trial he never had.

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The jury of six whites and six blacks found in favor of the Martin Luther King family, finding Jowers to be complicit in a conspiracy against Martin Luther King and that government agencies were party to the assassination.

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Martin Luther King's legacy includes influences on the Black Consciousness Movement and civil rights movement in South Africa.

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Martin Luther King's work was cited by, and served as, an inspiration for South African leader Albert Lutuli, who fought for racial justice in his country during apartheid and was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

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In 2017, Newcastle University unveiled a bronze statue of Martin Luther King to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his honorary doctorate ceremony.

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Martin Luther King has become a national icon in the history of American liberalism and American progressivism.

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Martin Luther King's purpose was to help them understand King's death as it related to racism, something they little understood as they lived in a predominantly white community.

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Daughter Yolanda Martin Luther King, who died in 2007, was a motivational speaker, author and founder of Higher Ground Productions, an organization specializing in diversity training.

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However, his youngest child, Bernice Martin Luther King, has said publicly that he would have been opposed to gay marriage.

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Martin Luther King was canonized by Archbishop Timothy Paul of the Holy Christian Orthodox Church on September 9,2016, at the Christian Cathedral in Springfield, Massachusetts.

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Martin Luther King's faith was strongly based in Jesus' commandment of loving your neighbor as yourself, loving God above all, and loving your enemies, praying for them and blessing them.

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Martin Luther King's nonviolent thought was based in the injunction to turn the other cheek in the Sermon on the Mount, and Jesus' teaching of putting the sword back into its place.

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Martin Luther King was advised by the white activists Harris Wofford and Glenn Smiley.

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Martin Luther King initially known little about Gandhi and rarely used the term "nonviolence" during his early years of activism in the early 1950s.

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Martin Luther King initially believed in and practiced self-defense, even obtaining guns in his household as a means of defense against possible attackers.

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The pacifists guided Martin Luther King by showing him the alternative of nonviolent resistance, arguing that this would be a better means to accomplish his goals of civil rights than self-defense.

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Martin Luther King outlined his understanding of nonviolence, which seeks to win an opponent to friendship, rather than to humiliate or defeat him.

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Martin Luther King was inspired by Gandhi and his success with nonviolent activism, and as a theology student, Martin Luther King described Gandhi as being one of the "individuals who greatly reveal the working of the Spirit of God".

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The trip to India affected Martin Luther King, deepening his understanding of nonviolent resistance and his commitment to America's struggle for civil rights.

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Martin Luther King struggled only with the weapons of truth, soul force, non-injury and courage.

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Martin Luther King was greatly influenced by the works of Protestant theologians Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich, and said that Walter Rauschenbusch's Christianity and the Social Crisis left an "indelible imprint" on his thinking by giving him a theological grounding for his social concerns.

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Martin Luther King was moved by Rauschenbusch's vision of Christians spreading social unrest in "perpetual but friendly conflict" with the state, simultaneously critiquing it and calling it to act as an instrument of justice.

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Martin Luther King frequently referred to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount as central for his work.

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Martin Luther King publicly discouraged it as a widespread practice, but acknowledged that it was sometimes necessary.

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Martin Luther King was criticized by other black leaders during the course of his participation in the civil rights movement.

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Martin Luther King assisted Native American people in south Alabama in the late 1950s.

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Martin Luther King promptly responded and through his intervention the problem was quickly resolved.

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In September 1959, Martin Luther King flew from Los Angeles, California, to Tucson, Arizona.

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At the reservation Martin Luther King met with all the tribal leaders, and others on the reservation then ate with them.

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Martin Luther King then visited another Presbyterian church near the reservation, and preached there attracting a Native American crowd.

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Martin Luther King later returned to Old Pueblo in March 1962 where he preached again to a Native American congregation, and then went on to give another speech at the University of Arizona.

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Martin Luther King would continue to attract the attention of Native Americans throughout the civil rights movement.

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Martin Luther King was a major inspiration along with the civil rights movement which inspired the Native American rights movement of the 1960s and many of its leaders.

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Martin Luther King supported the ideals of democratic socialism, although he was reluctant to speak directly of this support due to the anti-communist sentiment being projected throughout the United States at the time, and the association of socialism with communism.

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Martin Luther King believed that capitalism could not adequately provide the necessities of many American people, particularly the African-American community.

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Martin Luther King stated that black Americans, as well as other disadvantaged Americans, should be compensated for historical wrongs.

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Martin Luther King changed her mind after talking to King who was a fan of the show.

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Martin Luther King explained that her character signified a future of greater racial harmony and cooperation.

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FBI having concluded that Martin Luther King was dangerous due to communist infiltration, attempts to discredit Martin Luther King began through revelations regarding his private life.

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Lyndon B Johnson once said that King was a "hypocritical preacher".

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The bureau sent anonymous letters to Martin Luther King threatening to reveal information if he did not cease his civil rights work.

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Garrow had earlier referred to Ling's work on Martin Luther King, widely considered authoritative, as "thoughtful, perceptive, and thoroughly well-informed".

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Martin Luther King was awarded at least fifty honorary degrees from colleges and universities.

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Martin Luther King gazed upon the great wall of segregation and saw that the power of love could bring it down.

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Martin Luther King made our nation stronger because he made it better.

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Martin Luther King was second in Gallup's List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century.

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Martin Luther King placed third in the Greatest American contest conducted by the Discovery Channel and AOL.

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