Jan. 15, 1929 Michael Luther King is born in Atlanta. He later changed his name to Martin. Dr. King came from a long line of pastors who served at Ebenezer Baptist Church, including his father and grandfather.
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. On Dec. 1, Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a Montgomery Ala., bus to a white man and is arrested.
Dec. 5, 1955 The first day of the Montgomery bus boycott, Dr. King is named president of the Montgomery Improvement Association.
Jan. 27, 1957 An unexploded bomb is discovered on the porch of King’s Montgomery Ala., home.
February 1957 The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is founded. On Oct. 23, King’s second child, Martin Luther III, is born.
Sept. 17, 1958 Dr. King’s book, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, is published.
Jan. 24, 1960 King and his family moves to Atlanta where he becomes co-pastor with his father of Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Jan. 30, 1961 Third child Dexter Scott is born.
May 2, 1962 King joins the Birmingham protests.
March 28, 1963 Fourth child, Bernice Albertine, is born. Weeks later on April 16, King writes his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
June 1963 His book, Strength of Love, is published.
Aug. 28, 1963 The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom takes place in Washington, DC.; King delivers his “I Have a Dream Speech” to the large crowd on the National Mall and a nationwide TV audience.
June 1964 King’s Why We Can’t Wait book is published.
Dec. 10, 1964 Dr. King receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.
February 1966 The King family rents an apartment on Chicago’s West Side in North Lawndale at 1550 S. Hamlin.
January 1967 He writes his book Where Do We Go From Here?
April 3, 1968 King’s last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top,” is delivered in Memphis.
April 4, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 39, is assassinated as he stands on the balcony of Memphis’ Lorraine Motel. The wife of motel owner Walter Lane Bailey died of a brain hemorrhage several hours after King was shot. Some said the shock was too much for her.
1968 Coretta Scott King establishes The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center) shortly after her husband’s death.
Jan. 20, 1986 Martin Luther King Jr. Day becomes a national holiday. It was signed into law in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan, who initially did not support making it a national holiday. Some states, such as Arizona, refused to recognize the holiday for many years. By 2000, all 50 states recognized the holiday.
CNN Video: The greatest MLK speeches you never heard