king, martin luther, jr.

Cultural Dictionary

King, Martin Luther, Jr. definition


An African-American clergyman and political leader of the twentieth century; the most prominent member of the civil rights movement. King became famous in the 1950s and 1960s through his promotion of nonviolent methods of opposition to segregation, such as boycotts of segregated city buses, or sit-ins at lunch counters that would not serve black people. His “Letter from Birmingham Jail” defended this kind of direct, nonviolent action as a way of forcing people to take notice of injustice. King helped organize the march on Washington in 1963 that drew hundreds of thousands of supporters of civil rights to Washington, D.C., for a mass rally. At this march, he described a possible future of racial harmony in his most famous speech, which had the refrainI have a dream.” In 1964, he received the Nobel Prize for peace. King was assassinated by James Earl Ray in 1968.

Note: King was born January 15, 1929. A national holiday each January, Martin Luther King Day, commemorates his life.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: king, ernest joseph
Next Definition: king, william
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for king, martin luther, jr.
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing king, martin luther, jr.
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature