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M.L‘s father was a Baptist preacher, and he taught his three children Christine, Martin Luther, and A.D, to love God and obey him. Martin’s mother taught the children songs, and all 3 took piano lessons from a strict teacher. Their teacher would rap their knuckles if they made a mistake, so all of the children hated the piano. One night A.D snuck downstairs and tried to break the piano with a hammer! (It didn’t work. You can still see the piano when you tour Martin’s house.)
Outraged that Rosa had been arrested, Martin organized a peaceful bus boycott. It was simple-no one rode the buses! The bus company lost a lot of money. To trick the boycotters, they called the newspapers and told them a false story.”The boycott’s over!” they said. “Ride the buses!”But Martin and others found out about the trick and told people the true story-the boycott wasn’t over. Eventually, in 1956, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation on public buses wasn’t legal. The boycott was really over.
But many other places were still segregated. So Martin started peaceful protest marches and sit-ins. He was a good leader/speaker, and people listened to him. Martin was jailed 30 times, even though he’d done nothing wrong. Police brutally attacked marchers-even children. But Martin kept working for civil rights.
In 1966, he gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington, which he led. Over 200,000 people attended. Martin was opposed to the Vietnam War. He felt that money spent on the war could’ve been spent on civil rights or helping poor people. Martin started a war on poverty. It was called the War on Poverty! He moved with his family to a Chicago slum and lived there for a few weeks to draw attention to the horrible living conditions there. He accomplished many great things.
Martin was assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4, 1968, on a hotel balcony. Many influential people attended his funeral, including Robert Kennedy and future president Richard M. Nixon. Martin Luther King ended segregation. Now anyone can eat in any restaurant, can watch a movie in any theater, and drink from any water fountain. They can sit on any bus, and they can go to any park-all because of Martin Luther King, a man with a dream.
Fast Facts on Martin Luther King
· He was the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner.
· He was the Monopoly champion of his family!
· He had 4 kids.