Today would have been Dr. Martin Luther King’s 80th birthday and I can’t help but think about what he would be doing today. We can imagine that he would be preparing to attend the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. As January 20 approaches many of us are saying things like, “I wish my mother, father or grandmother were here to see this event.” Even Dr. King’s oldest daughter, Yolanda, did not live long enough to see this event, nor did his wife, Coretta. Although Dr. King’s time was short-only 39 years-he accomplished more than most who lived twice as long. Here’s a brief timeline of his extraordinary life.
1929, Jan. 15 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born as Michael Luther King in Atlanta. He later changed his name to Martin.
1948 King is ordained to the Baptist ministry
1951 He graduates with a bachelor of divinity degree from Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Penn.
1953 Martin and Coretta Scott marry in Marion, Ala.
1955 King receives a doctoral degree in systematic theology from Boston University
1955 The couple’s first child, Yolanda, is born Nov. 17.
1955, Dec. 5 The first day of the Montgomery bus boycott, Dr. King is named president of the Montgomery Improvement Association.
1957, Feb. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is founded. On Oct. 23, King’s second child, Martin Luther III, is born
1960, Jan. 24 King and his family moves to Atlanta where he becomes co-pastor with his father of Ebenezer Baptist Church
1961, Jan. 30 wThird child Dexter Scott is born.
1963, March 28 Fourth child, Bernice Albertine, is born. Weeks later on April 16, King writes his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
1963, Aug. 28 The March on Washington takes place in Washington, DC. The theme was “Jobs and Freedom”
1964, Dec. 10 Dr. King receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.
1966, Feb. The King family rents an apartment on Chicago’s West side at 1550 S. Hamlin
1968, April 3 King’s last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top,” is delivered in Memphis
1968, April 4 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated as he stands on the balcony of Memphis’ Lorraine Motel