Martin Luther King, Jr. Becomes Youngest Nobel Prize LaureateDec 10, 2020 08:00AM ● By Kassidy Garland
Martin Luther King Jr. was born Michael Luther King Jr. on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. King was an intelligent child and showed promise from an early age. During his high school career, he skipped both 9th and 11th grade.
Originally, MLK, Jr. had no intention of following the same path of ministry as his father and grandfather, choosing to study law and medicine instead. After the mentorship of Morehouse president, Dr. Benjamin Mays, an advocate for equal rights, MLK made his decision. In 1948, he graduated with a degree in sociology and decided to continue his education at the liberal Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. He became valedictorian and class president.
After graduating in 1951, he attended Boston University to obtain his doctorate. It was here that he met his future wife, Coretta Scott. They were married two years later, and had four kids, Yolanda Denise King, Martin Luther King III, Dexter Scott King and Bernice Albertine King.During the Montgomery Bus Boycott, MLK was established as a strong leader in the Civil Rights Community, and was targeted in bombings and assassination attempts. Reverend Dr. King became the first president of the Christian Leadership Conference.
King was arrested multiple times during his career, which allowed him to pen “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in April of 1963. The letters became a civil rights manifesto. In August of 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr. made his most famous mark on history. His “I Have a Dream” speech reached hundreds of thousands of people on August 28th during the March on Washington.
Shortly after, at the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr. became the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. King was chosen for his incredible efforts in the fight for equal rights. Along with the prestigious honor, he was awarded a monetary prize of $54,123, which he donated back to the Movement.
The prize was established by famed inventor Alfred Nobel after signing his third and final will, setting aside the majority of his enormous fortune to establish the prize. Nobel established the prize in five of his significant interests – science, inventions, entrepreneurship, literature and peace work.
“The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: /- - -/ one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. fit this description perfectly. Throughout his life, until his assassination in April of 1968, MLK made huge strides for the Civil Rights Movement. His wife and children maintained his legacy, establishing the King Center where their mission continues -- “The King Center envisions a world where global brotherhood and sisterhood are not a dream but the state of humankind.”