Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man who fought for civil rights for all citizens. He was a minister who taught everyone that they must be non-violent no matter what others did to them. When King went to school, the schools were segregated (white people went to one school and black people to another school). Most places (buses, restaurants, parks, theaters, etc.) in the southern states were segregated.

On buses, black people had to sit in the back of the bus and give up their seats to white people. On December 1, 1955, a lady named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. She was arrested. King called for a boycott of the buses. This boycott lasted longer than a year and the bus companies were ordered to end segregation on their buses. Martin Luther King became famous during this time.

He was a great speaker and became well known all over the world for his speeches. In 1963, his speech "I Have A Dream" was given in Washington, D.C. to more than 200,000 people who had come there to demand civil rights for everyone in America. His speeches and his work led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited segregation. He also received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work.

Many people disagreed with King. Some white people thought that black people should not be treated equally and they made it difficult for them to vote, to go to any school they wanted, to be treated well at work. Some black people thought King should use any way possible to make changes happen. Some young black people thought they should use violence against the violence of the white people. But King always taught that, even when they were attacked by other people, they should not fight back. He said that would only lead to more trouble and that it would be against the ideals of Christianity.

In 1968, he was in Memphis, Tennessee to help workers who were on strike. While he stood outside his hotel room, he was assassinated by a man named James Earl Ray. He was 39 years old. After his death, he became a symbol of protest for equal treatment for black people in the USA. His birthday now is a national holiday, celebrated on the third Monday in January, on or near his birthdate of January 15, 1929.

True and False Questions

1. Martin Luther King, Jr. was very old when he died.


2. King did not want anyone to use violence in the protests.


3. King was not a great speaker.


4. King fought to end segregation.


5. Everyone agreed with Martin Luther King.


6. He was a minister.


7. He led the bus boycott, which helped to bring change in the South.


8. King died of an illness.


9. King is still a famous name today.


10. His most famous speech was "I Have A Dream."