Key dates in the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
1929 January 15. Michael Luther King Jr., later renamed Martin, born to schoolteacher Alberta King and Baptist minister Michael Luther King. Boyhood in Sweet Auburn district.
1948 King graduates from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., with a B.A.
1951 Graduates with a B.D. from Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pa.
1953 June 18. King marries Coretta Scott in Marion, Ala.. They will have four children: Yolanda Denise (b.1955), Martin Luther King III (b.1957), Dexter (b.1961), Bernice Albertine (b.1963).
1954 September. King moves to Montgomery, Ala., to preach at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.
1955 After coursework at New England colleges, King finishes his Ph.D. in systematic theology.
1956 January 26. King is arrested for driving 30 mph in a 25 mph zone.
1957 January. Black ministers form what became known as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King is named first president one month later.
1958 King's first book published, "Stride Toward Freedom" (Harper), his recollections of the Montgomery bus boycott. While King is promoting his book in a Harlem book store, an African American woman stabs him.
1959 King visits India. He had a lifelong admiration for Mohandas K. Gandhi, and credited Gandhi's passive resistance techniques for his civil-rights successes.
1960 King leaves for Atlanta to pastor his father's church, Ebenezer Baptist Church.
1962 King meets with President John F. Kennedy to urge support for civil rights.
1963 King leads protests in Birmingham for desegregated department store facilities, and fair hiring.
August 28. 250,000 civil-rights supporters attended the March on Washington. At the Lincoln Memorial, King delivers the famous "I have a dream" speech.
1964 King's book "Why We Can't Wait" published.
1965 January 18. King successfully registers to vote at the Hotel Albert in Selma, Ala. and is assaulted by James George Robinson of Birmingham.
1968 April 4. King is assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., by James Earl Ray.
1986 January 20 is the first national celebration of King's birthday as a national holiday.