Washington (AFP) – Here are key dates in the life of US civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., the pastor, Nobel Peace Prize winner and preacher of non-violence who was assassinated 50 years ago on April 4, 1968.
– January 15, 1929: King is born in Atlanta in the southern state of Georgia.
– June 18, 1953: He marries Coretta Scott and they go on to have four children.
– December 1955: A pastor at the Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, King takes the lead of a year-long boycott against racial segregation on local buses. It results in an end to such segregation and earns him a national profile.
– April 1963: Arrested after demonstrations against racial segregation, King writes his famous “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” in which he outlines his non-violent resistance to racism.
– August 1963: King pronounces his inspiring “I Have a Dream” speech to about 250,000 people at the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.”
– October 1964: Aged 35, he becomes the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner at the time for his non-violent resistance.
– 1966: King moves to the slums of Chicago to extend the civil rights movement into the north of the country.
– 1967: He denounces the war in Vietnam and expands his campaign against poverty in the United States.
– April 4, 1968: King is assassinated at age 39 by James Earl Ray, who shoots King while he is standing on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee.