On this day in Alabama history: Martin Luther King Jr. was born

On this day in Alabama history: Martin Luther King Jr. was born
Civil rights leaders meet with President John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office of the White House after the March on Washington, D.C. (Photograph by Warren K. Leffler, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

January 15, 1929

Originally named Michael Luther, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on this day in Atlanta, Georgia. After a trip to Europe in 1934, the elder King changed his name as well as his son’s to Martin Luther in honor of the leader of the Protestant Reformation. The younger King moved to Alabama in 1954 to pastor the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, beginning a rise to national prominence that would make the minister, philosopher and social activist America’s most significant civil rights leader. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Fifteen years later, President Ronald Reagan signed into law a bill that created the Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday on the third Monday of every January.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

Related Stories