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Time Line

January 15, 1929
Martin Luther King, Jr. is born.

fall 1933
King, Jr., enters the first grade at Yonge Street Elementary School at the age of four.

September 1944
King begins his freshman year at Morehouse College

May 1951
King graduates from Crozer with a bachelor of divinity degree, as valedictorian and student body president.

June 1953
King marries Coretta Scott at the Scott home near Marion, Alabama.

October 1954
King is ordained pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

June 1955
King is awarded a doctorate from Boston University.

December 1955
The Montgomery Bus Boycott begins and King is elected president of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) five days after Rosa Parks' arrest for refusing to obey the city's policy mandating segregation on buses.

January 1956
King is arrested for speeding and is jailed for the first time in Montgomery.

January 1956
The Kings' home is bombed.

December 1956
Montgomery buses are integrated after the U.S. Supreme Court declares Alabama's segregation laws unconstitutional and King is among the first people to ride an integrated Montgomery bus.

September 1958
King publishes his first book, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story

June 1960
King meets privately with presidential candidate John F. Kennedy.

October 1960
King is arrested for sitting-in at Rich's Department store in Atlanta, refuses to post bail, and goes to jail with student protestors.

December 1961
King is arrested for parading without a permit and is released on bond.

October 1962
King meets with President Kennedy and urges him to issue a second Emancipation Proclamation to end racial segregation.

April 1963
King is jailed in Birmingham and writes "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"

August 1963
King delivers the "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

September 1963
Strength to Love is published

March 1964
King meets Malcolm X in the Capitol building.

June 1964
Why We Can't Wait is published.

December 1964
King receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.

26 July 1965
King's People to People tour of northern cities culminates in a mass march of 30,000 people at Chicago city hall.

6 August 1965
King is present when President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act.

Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? and The Trumpet of Conscience are published.

April 1968
King delivers his last speech, "I've Been to the Mountaintop," at the Mason Temple in Memphis.

4 April 1968
King is assassinated in Memphis

The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Nobel peace prize winner and most respected of black leaders on April 4, 1968, fell with stunning force on all Americans, black and white alike. Dr. King was in Memphis, Tennessee to lead a nonviolent demonstration, when he was killed by an assassin's bullet during a speech. Shortly before his death Dr. King said, "it's no longer a question of violence or nonviolence, it is nonviolence or nonexistence."