January 15: Happy Birthday to... Martin Luther King ...

Martin Luther King Jnr. was born on January 15 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Born into a family headed by a Baptist minister, Martin Luther King would become the figurehead of the American Civil rights movement.

Minister, activist, humanitarian and spiritual leader, he headed a campaign of non-violent civil disobedience (like Mahatma Gandhi) through actions likes the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. He was a co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and served as the body’s first president. He organized the struggle against segregation in Albany, and protests in Birmingham but it was in 1963 when the world really sat up and listened.

King helped to organize the March on Washington and in front of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28 he delivered his “I Have a Dream” Speech. It earned him the reputation of being one of the greatest orators in American history.

1964 brought the Nobel Peace Prize, followed in 1965 by the Selma to Montgomery Marches. Work continued in Chicago and he also spoke out against the Vietnam War.

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jnr. Was assassinated at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, where he had been lending support to striking sanitation workers. James Earl Ray was convicted of the crime on March 10, 1969 and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Martin Luther King Day – (the third Monday of January) was declared a Federal National holiday in 1986, he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom and in 2011, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Happy Birthday, Sir - RIP

Happy Birthday to you too, if you were born on January 15th. Here’s who else you share your birthday with:

Jean Baptiste Moliere – French dramatist: Born 1622

Lloyd Bridges – American actor and head of acting dynasty: Born 1913

Margaret O'Brien – American actress: Born 1937

Mario Van Peebles – American actor and director: born 1957

Julian Sands – English actor: Born 1958

Regina King – Emmy award-winning American actress : Born 1971

Eddie Cahill – American actor: Born 1978

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