Martin Luther King, the first President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was born on January 15, 1929. He was an African American Baptist minister and activist who became the most noticeable spokesperson and leader in the American civil rights movement from 1995 until his assassination. Inspire by some Christian beliefs and the non-violence behavior of Mahatma Gandhi, he advanced civil rights through non-violence and civil obedience.
In his early childhood, he had to face criticism because of his skin color. When he was six, he was friends with a white boy whose father was a businessman. He refused them to play together stating the reason that Martin was black and his friend was white. Also, they were forced to attend different schools as there was a school especially for the white children where black children were not allowed to study. That white boy’s parents also didn’t allow their child to play with Martin because of the difference in skin color. Getting upset by this, Martin discussed the issue with his father, who then explained to him about slavery and racism in America.
He did his schooling at Younge Street Elementary School. In 1942, while he was 13, he graced the youngest Assistant Manager of a newspaper delivery station for the Atlanta Journal. In high school, he became known for his public speaking quality, after which he joined his school’s debate team. He was more inclined towards English and Sociology subjects, which continued to be his main subjects at school.
On April 13, 1944, King gave his first public speech during an oratorical contest, sponsored by the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World in Dublin, Georgia. In his speech, he affirmed, “Black America still wears chains”. On his ride back home by bus, he and his teacher were ordered by the bus driver to stand so that the white passengers could grab their seats. When Martin refused, the driver called him “black son of a bitch”. His teacher then asked Martin to get up and not create a scene. They got up and thereafter all the seats were occupied by the white people and they had to stand the whole time. Later, he wrote of the incident, saying “The night will never leave my memory. It was the angriest I have ever been in my life”.