What Is the Timeline of Martin Luther King's Fight for Equal Rights?


Quick Answer

The active involvement of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the civil rights movement in the United States spans 13 years, beginning in 1955 when he engaged in a boycott against racial segregation in public transportation and ending in 1968 when King was fatally shot. King was highly recognized for his contributions and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

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Born in 1929, King became an ordained minister in 1948 and began practicing his pastorate in 1954 in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1955, the African-American civil rights advocate Rosa Parks was arrested for civil disobedience when she refused to leave her seat and move to the colored section of the bus she was riding. This incident became pivotal in King's campaign against racial discrimination and fight for equality. He called for the bus boycott of the Montgomery transportation system and in a landmark victory in 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation laws in public transportation were unconstitutional. Throughout the 1960s until his death, King organized non-violent rallies, marches and demonstrations that demanded equality for all Americans.

King is perhaps most famously known for his "I Have A Dream" speech, which he delivered in 1963 before a quarter of a million activists who flocked to the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The following year, the Civil Rights Act was passed into legislation, prohibiting all forms of racial discrimination. King's active struggle ended in 1968 when he was assassinated by James Earl Ray.

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