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Martin Luther King Jr.

Nobel Prizes and Laureates


The Nobel Peace Prize 1964
Martin Luther King Jr.

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Questions and Answers


Question: When was Martin Luther King, Jr. born?

Answer: Martin Luther King, Jr., was born on Tuesday, 15 January 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.


Question: What were the names of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s family members?

Answer: Martin Luther King, Jr. was the second child and first son to the Reverend Martin Luther King and Alberta Williams King. He had one sister, Christine and one brother, Alfred Daniel.


Question: When was Martin Luther King, Jr. married, and did he have any children?

Answer: He married Coretta Scott on June 18, 1953. They had four children: Yolanda Denise (born 1955), Martin Luther III (born 1957), Dexter Scott (born 1961) and Bernice Albertine (born 1963).


Question: What did Martin Luther King, Jr. study?

Answer: Martin Luther King, Jr. was a very bright student and a talented speaker. When he was nineteen he graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta with a BA degree in Sociology. In 1951, he graduated from the Crozer Theological Seminary with a BA of Divinity, which qualified him to become a pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. King also received his Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Boston University in 1955.


Question: When did Martin Luther King, Jr. deliver his famous speech "I have a dream ..."?

Answer: On 28 August 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. organised a now historic march to Washington to show the importance of solving the nation's racial problems. About 250,000 people gathered and listened to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech when he uttered the immortal words: "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character".


Question: What sort of discrimination did he fight against?

Answer: Martin Luther King, Jr. experienced segregation early in life. When he was six years old, two white playmates told him that they were not allowed to play with him any longer. His mother explained to him that it was because they now attended segregated schools, but assured him that he was as good as anybody else. His father told him the story of the father of the Reformation, Martin Luther, and said that both of them now should have his name.

On 1 December 1955, Rosa Parks, an African American woman, refused to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger, and as a result she was arrested for violating the city's segregation law. Activists protested and organised a boycott of the buses for one day and chose Martin Luther King, Jr. as their leader. This protest continued until the buses became desegregated. Under this time, about a year, Martin Luther King, Jr. was constantly harassed with death threats and bombing of his house.


Question: What were his dreams?

Answer: That all people would someday be sisters and brothers in a world governed by equality, justice, and peace.


Question: Why was Martin Luther King, Jr. awarded the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize?

Answer: As Gunnar Jahn, Chairman of the Nobel Committee, said in his presentation speech: "He is the first person in the Western world to have shown us that a struggle can be waged without violence. He is the first to make the message of brotherly love a reality in the course of his struggle, and he has brought this message to all men, to all nations and races.

Today we pay tribute to Martin Luther King, the man who has never abandoned his faith in the unarmed struggle he is waging, who has suffered for his faith, who has been imprisoned on many occasions, whose home has been subject to bomb attacks, whose life and the lives of his family have been threatened, and who nevertheless has never faltered.

To this undaunted champion of peace the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament has awarded the Peace Prize for the year 1964."


Question: When did Martin Luther King, Jr. die and where is he buried?

Answer: Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on 4 April 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was trying to help the striking garbage workers. The funeral was held on 9 April 1968 at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.


Sources:
The King Center (http://www.thekingcenter.org/)
Irwin Abrams: The Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. An Illustrated Biographical History 1901-2001. Science History Publications, USA, 2001
Øivind Stenersen, Ivar Libæk and  Asle Sveen: The Nobel Peace Prize: Laureates 1901-2000. Oslo: Cappelen, 2001

 

First published 14 May 2008

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