Audience versions of this page: FamilyOn January 15, 1929, Michael King, Jr., was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Five years later, King’s father, a Baptist minister, attended an international conference in Germany. After the conference, the elder King was inspired to change both his own and his son’s names to honor the German Protestant reformer Martin Luther. Martin Luther King, Jr., became one of the most important leaders of the civil rights movement in the United States.King’s influence extended far beyond the United States, however. His use of non-violent action and civil disobedience earned the admiration and respect of the international community, culminating in the Nobel Peace Prize of 1964.“We are in an era in which the issue of human rights is the central question confronting all nations,” King said in a speech opposing the racist apartheid government of South Africa. This made the civil rights movement universal: “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed” and, “with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers in Asia, South America, and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice.”
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry admiration Noun
feeling of respect and approval.
(1948-1993) South African government's policy of separating different races of people.
member of a Protestant denomination that emphasizes the importance of baptism as a testament to the Christian faith.
prejudice or intolerance.
to stop using or buying a product, or to stop using or buying products at a specific location, usually to make a social or political statement.
civil disobedience Noun
peaceful refusal to obey certain laws, used as a form of protest and in order to achieve political goals.
civil rights movement Noun
(~1954-1968) process to establish equal rights for all people in the United States, focusing on the rights of African Americans.
meeting for discussion.
to reach the highest point or most important part of something.
organized public display of support or criticism for a policy or event.
having to do with money.
system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.
human rights Noun
basic freedoms belonging to every individual, including the rights to social and political expression, spirituality, and opportunity.
difference in size, amount, or quality between two or more things.
force that effects the actions, behavior, or policies of others.
act or behavior that is unfair or discriminates against a group of people.
administration of law.
March on Washington Noun
(March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom) demonstration supporting economic and civil rights for all Americans, held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on August 28, 1963, and concluding with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.
pastor, or person authorized by a church to conduct worship.
Negro noun, adjective
throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, a common word for people of African ancestry.
Nobel Peace Prize Noun
award recognizing the contributions of a person or organization to "work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace."
to unjustly discriminate against, torment, or persecute.
Poor People's March Noun
(1968) part of a campaign for civil and economic rights for poor people in the United States, including a "tent city" erected on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
protest noun, verb
demonstration against a policy or action.
Christian who is not a follower of Catholic or Orthodox faiths.
government or social system based on the belief that one ethnic group is superior to all others.
community or government policy of denying certain rights to people based on their ancestry, usually signified by skin color.
reform noun, verb
change or improvement of a policy or process.
Selma to Montgomery March Noun
(March 21, 1965-March 25, 1965) protest to support voting rights for African Americans, taking the form of a 87-kilometer (54-mile) walk between the Alabama town of Selma and the capital, Montgomery.
demonstration where protesters occupy a space and refuse to leave it.
requiring immediate action.
strong, destructive force.
voting rights Noun
issues surrounding the legal right and ability to campaign and cast a vote in political elections.