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Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929 - 1968   Tags: african_americans, church_history, civil_rights, preaching  

The life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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About Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-68) was a Baptist minister, theologian, and civil rights worker. He is best known as an advocate of non-violent protest and as a gifted orator and preacher.

King was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son and grandson of Baptist preachers. He attended Morehouse College, and studied theology at Crozer Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received a Ph.D. from Boston University in 1955, while pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He became involved in the year-long bus strike, and was elected chair of the Montgomery Improvement Association, a racial harmony group. In 1960 he moved back to Atlanta to become president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; he also worked as a pastor with his father at Ebenezer Baptist Church. In 1963 he was arrested during protests over segregation in Birmingham, Alabama; there he wrote the classic “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” In August 1963 he delivered his most famous address, the “I Have a Dream” speech, during a civil rights march in Washington, D.C. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act became law, and he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He continued to organize non-violent civil rights demonstrations, including a march for voter registration in Selma, Alabama, in 1965. His advocacy of desegregation, non-violent protest, and the peace movement aroused much opposition, and he was assassinated at a Memphis hotel in April 1968.

In 1986 the third Monday of January was made a U.S. federal holiday in commemoration of King’s birthday. Since 1994, the day has been recognized as a national day of service, where volunteers help with community projects. Many churches celebrate his life with special services the preceding Sunday.

This guide contains resources for the study of Martin Luther King's life and legacy, including:


Finding Books on Martin Luther King in the Library Catalog

One easy way to start your research is to go to the stacks and see what's on the shelves. Works about Martin Luther King are shelved with the call number E185.97 .K5.

    You can also search the library catalog to find relevant works. To find general works in DiscoverE or EUCLID, click on "Advanced Search," choose "Subject" in the drop-down menu and search using Library of Congress Subject Headings:

    • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968
    • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 Religion
    • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 Philosophy
    • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 Political activity
    • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 Political and social views
    • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 Ethics
    • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 Oratory
    • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 Language
    • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968. I have a dream
    • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 Views on [topic]
    • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 Childhood and youth
    • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 Family (or: King family)
    • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 Last years (or: Last years and death; Death and burial)
    • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 Assassination
    • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 Sources (for primary documents)
    • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 Influence (King's influence on others)
    • Civil rights movements United States
    • Civil rights workers United States
    • Equality United States History
    • United States Race relations
    • Southern States Race relations
    • African Americans Segregation
    • African Americans Civil rights
    • African Americans Civil rights History
    • African Americans Social conditions
    • Black theology

    Hint: Once you've found an item in the catalog that looks good, click on the Subject headings to find other items on that same topic.


    Finding Articles about Martin Luther King

    Here are some sources for finding articles on Martin Luther King:

    America History and Life (EBSCO)

    American National Biography

    ATLA Religion Database (EBSCO)

    Black Newspapers Collection

    Black Studies Center

    Catholic Periodical and Literature Index (EBSCO)

    Christian Periodical Index (EBSCO)

    Historical Abstracts (EBSCO)

    History Cooperative

    Humanities & Social Sciences Abstracts

    Humanities International Complete

    International Index to Black Periodicals


    Periodicals Index Online

    Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice, 1490-2007

    Religion and Philosophy Collection (EBSCO)

    World Religion Database

    (You can search on two or more EBSCO databases at the same time by clicking on a link above to go to EBSCOhost. Then click on "Choose Databases" just above the search box.)

    You may also find it helpful to search on Google Scholar.

    As with the library catalog, databases may be searched by subject for:

    • King, Martin Luther, Jr, 1929-1968.
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