THE FOREMOST ADVOCATE of peaceful resistance in the history of the United States and the leader of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 15, 1929, to Martin and Alberta King. Since 1983, King's birthday has been observed as a national holiday on the third Monday of January.

Even as a young boy, King demonstrated unusual intelligence. He skipped the first, ninth, and eleventh grades. In 1944, at the age of 15, King enrolled at Morehouse College, a predominantly black school in Atlanta, to study English and sociology. At Morehouse, King was exposed to Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience and heard the issue of race debated for the first time. On ...

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