entered Morehouse College in Atlanta at age 15, in 1944. He was a popular student, especially with the girls, but an unmotivated student who floated though his first two years. Although his family was deeply involved in the church and worship, young Martin questioned religion in general and felt uncomfortable with overly emotional displays of religious worship. This discomfort continued through much of his adolescence, initially leading him to decide against entering the ministry,
Contents

Synopsis
Early Years
Advanced Education and Spiritual Growth
Montgomery bus boycott
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference
I Have a Dream
Assassination and Legacy

much to his father’s dismay. But in his junior year, Martin took a Bible class, renewed his faith and began to envision a career in the ministry. In the fall of his senior year, he told his father of his decision, which pleased his father.
Advanced Education and Spiritual Growth

In 1948, Martin Luther King, Jr. took his sociology degree from Morehouse College and attended the liberal Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. There he thrived in all his studies becoming valedictorian of his class in 1951 and elected student body president. He also earned a fellowship for graduate study. But Martin also rebelled against his father’s more conservative influence by drinking beer and playing pool while at college. He became involved with a white woman and went through a difficult time before he could break off the affair.

During his last year in seminary, Martin Luther King, Jr. came under the influence of theologian Reinhold Niebbuhr, a classmate of his father’s at Morehouse College. Niebbuhr became a mentor to Martin, challenging his liberal views of theology. Niebuhr was probably the single most important influence in Martin’s intellectual and spiritual development. After being accepted at several colleges for his doctoral study including Yale and Edinburgh in Scotland, King enrolled in Boston University.

During the work on this doctorate, Martin Luther King, Jr. met Coretta Scott and aspiring singer and musician at the New England Conservatory school in Boston. They were married in June, 1953 and had four children, Yolanda, Martin Luther King, III, Dexter Scott, and Bernice. In 1954, while still working on his dissertation, King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church of Montgomery, Alabama. He completed his Ph.D. and was award his degree in 1955. King was only 25 years old.
Montgomery bus boycott

On March 2, 1955, a fifteen-year-old girl refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery city bus in violation of local law. Claudette Colvin was arrested and taken to jail. At first, the local chapter of the NAACP felt they had an excellent test case to challenge Montgomery’s segregated bus policy. But then it was revealed that she was pregnant and civil rights leaders feared this would scandalize the deeply religious black community and make Colvin (and, thus the group’s efforts) less credible in the eyes of sympathetic whites. On December 1, 1955, they got another chance to make their case. On that evening, 42 year-old Rosa Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus to go home from an exhausting day at work. She sat in the first row of the “colored” section in the middle of the bus. As the bus traveled its route, all the seats it the white section filled up, then several more white passengers boarded the bus. The bus driver noted there were several white men standing and demanded that Parks and several other African Americans give up their seats. Three other African American passengers reluctantly gave up their places, but Parks remained seated. The driver asked her again to give up her seat and again she refused. She was arrested and booked for violating the Montgomery City Code. At her trial a week later, in a thirty minute hearing, Parks was found guilty