Why Did Martin Luther King Get Arrested?

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Between 1958 and 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested 30 times for demonstrating and participating in non-violent protests against segregation. During his 1963 imprisonment, he wrote “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” which became the manifesto of the civil rights movement.

As the newly-elected leader of the NAACP, Dr. King was first arrested in 1955 while supporting the Montgomery bus boycott. This boycott would lead to the United States District Court declaring segregation on buses unconstitutional.

In 1963, Dr. King was arrested at a rally in Birmingham, Ala. while protesting against segregation at lunch counters. The letter he wrote during his 11-day imprisonment argued that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and set the tone for the civil rights movement by inspiring like-minded people to join him in uniting against injustice.

In February of 1965, Dr. King was arrested while protesting against voting rights violations in Selma, Ala. The “Bloody Sunday” march ended when police fired tear gas and used billy clubs to attack the protesters; however, Dr. King returned, and on March 25, he led the protesters to the state capitol. Although he was arrested 30 times during his life, Dr. King continued to fight for justice and equality until his death in 1968.