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Martin Luther King, Jr. A Great Leader Written and Illustrated by Nina Bunn

Martin Luther King, 1929-1968

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a very honorable and remarkable person. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929. His mother was named Alberta King. His father was Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. was a minister. Martin Luther King Jr. experienced racism early in his life. There were two boys that he used to play with. One day, when he went over to play, the

parents said, “You cannot play with our boys.” Later, he went over and got the same treatment. He asked, “Are they sick?” The parents said “No. You are Black.” He didn’t understand. He ran home and cried. Then he asked his mom about it. She told him all about Black history, up until the Civil War. “That’s when Black people became citizens.” She explained. Another time, his father was taking him to buy shoes. A person working explained to them that they would have to sit in the back of the store. His father said “Why? These seats are fine.” The young worker turned pink and said, ”I’m sorry, but you’ll have to move.” Martin Luther King Jr. wanted to end desegregation, but in a peaceful way. (Not very easy to do.) One time after school, he was at the library, his arms full of books. He accidentally brushed against a big bully. He said, “Excuse me,” and kept walking. The bully followed him outside, boasting that he would “take care of him”. Finally the bully ran in front of Martin, and blocked his path. Martin managed to say, “What do you want?” The bully laughed defiantly, but did not answer. By now a crowd had formed. Someone pushed the boys


together, trying to start a fight. Martin tried to stop the fight by reasoning. “What do you want to fight about?” He asked. “In the first place, I haven’t done anything to you. I brushed into you accidentally. I asked you to pardon me. Now why do you want to mess or tear up our clothes or cause us to get hurt? What will hurting each other prove?” A couple people in the crowd agreed with Martin, but again someone pushed the two boys together, harder than before. The fight began. Martin was badly beaten. After the fight, the bully and his friends moved on. A few kids stayed behind, to help M.L. (That’s what people called him) gather his books. A while later, when he was in higher elementary schools, he was transferred to a private school, known as Oglethorpe Elementary School. It was rather small. Only about two hundred children attended the school in all the grades from kindergarten through the eighth grade. One of Martin’s teachers was Miss Lemon. They became very close friends. The two subjects Miss Lemon liked best were social studies and science. Miss Lemon wanted to teach social studies in a very practical manner. She organized the class into the President’s Cabinet in

the federal government. Then she acted as the President, and the class became members of the “President’s” Cabinet. Every two weeks, they had an election, so that each pupil had a chance to have a part in the Cabinet. The students even punished themselves when they did something wrong. They would choose how many whacks with a ruler it would take to make themselves reform. Then they go up to the front, and whack on one of their hands with the ruler however many times they thought was necessary. One day, Martin had to be punished. He was embarrassed, but said nothing. All the pupils were watching. “If you do not punish yourself well, I will have to do it myself,” said Miss Lemon, just as she said to every other student who had to be punished. Martin silently gave himself ten sharp whacks, which is the greatest number possible, under the rules. Miss Lemon taught the class to speak out against the rules. “Hold your head up, and walk straight. You can rebel and still maintain your dignity. You do not have to fight with people to show that you do not like what they are doing to you. You can rebel inside, and find quiet ways to show your discontent. At the age of 15, Martin got accepted to Morehouse


College. He graduated when he was 19. Martin entered Crozer Theological Seminary, having been ordained a minister when he was eighteen. He was also assistant pastor to his dad at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. It was when he was at Crozer that Martin began studying Henry David Thoreau and Mahatma Gandhi. Martin Luther King Jr. was famous for leading the Civil Rights Movement. He led a bus boycott, triggered by Rosa Parks. He led a lot of marches for Civil Rights. Also, he gave a famous speech called his “I Have A Dream” speech. Toward the end of his life, he actually got put in jail a couple times, just because he led some more marches. In 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Things were looking up. But, on April 3, 1968, Dr. King went to support sanitation workers on strike. The next day, he was standing on the balcony, talking to a friend that had come down with him. At 6:01, a shot rang out. Martin Luther King Jr. died. After this followed a series of riots. With his death, the nation had lost a great leader. But Dr. King’s dream lives on.

Martin Luther King giving a speech

Bibliography 1. Martin Luther King Jr., Young Man with a Dream, by Dharathula H. Millender 2. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Troll Associates 3. Answers.com 4. Factmonster.com 5. Brainpop.com


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