MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: A Timeline
January 15th, 1929 - Born in Atlanta as Michael King Junior. When he was about five, his namesake father legally changed their names.
1947 - Though skeptical of religion while growing up, he chose to enter the ministry in order to "serve humanity."
1948 - Enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary, near Philadelphia.
June 18th, 1953 - Married Coretta Scott; the couple would have four children.
1954 - Became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.
1955 - Received his doctorate in theology from Boston University.
December 1st, 1955 - Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white person on a Montgomery city bus. Doctor King became a leader in the boycott of buses that resulted from Parks's case.
1957 - Co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a social action organized by black churches. It was inspired by the successful crusades of the Reverend Billy Graham.
1963 - The SCLC began organizing non-violent protests advocating economic justice and an end to segregation in Birmingham, Alabama.
1963 - Suspicious of King and the SCLC's activities, the FBI began tapping his telephone.
August 28, 1963 - Helped lead the March on Washington, where he delivers his historic "I Have a Dream" speech.
October 14th, 1964 - Became the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his advocacy of non-violent protest.
March 9th, 1965 - Organized a peaceful march from Selma to the Alabama state capital, Montgomery. Initially blocked by local authorities, it was successfully staged 16 days later.
April 4th, 1967 - Publicly spoke out against the war in Vietnam for the first time.
1968 - Organized the Poor People's Campaign, reaching across ethnic lines to protest economic inequality.
March 29th, 1968 - Went to Memphis in support of striking local sanitation workers.
April 3rd, 1968 - Delivered his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech at the Mason Temple in Memphis.
April 4th, 1968 - Assassinated by gunman James Earl Ray while standing on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.
1986 - His birthday was established as a federal holiday.