1929 — Martin Luther King Jr. is born to the Rev. and Mrs. Martin Luther King Sr. (formerly Alberta Christine Williams) in Atlanta, Ga., on Jan. 15.
1935-1944 — King attends the segregated David T. Howard Elementary School in Atlanta, the University Laboratory School and Booker T. Washington High School.
1947 — The Rev. King is licensed to preach.
1948 — The Rev. King is ordained to the Baptist ministry and appointed associate pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. He graduates from Morehouse College with a bachelor's degree in sociology and enters Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pa. After hearing the Revs. A.J. Muste and Mordecai W. Johnson preach on the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, he begins to study Gandhi seriously.
1951 — The Rev. King graduates from Crozer with a Bachelor of Divinity degree. In June, the Rev. King marries Coretta Scott in Marion, Ala.
1954 — The Supreme Court of the United States rules unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.
1955 — The Rev. King earns a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Boston University. The Kings' first child, Yolanda Denise, is born. Mrs. Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old Montgomery, Ala., seamstress, refuses to relinquish her bus seat to a White man and is arrested, sparking the Montgomery bus boycott. The Rev. King is unanimously elected president of the Montgomery Improvement Association.
1956 — The Rev. King is arrested on a charge of traveling 30 miles per hour in a 25 mile-per-hour zone in Montgomery. He is released. A bomb is thrown onto the porch of the Rev. King's Montgomery home. Mrs. King is inside with her baby, but no one is injured.
The Rev. King is indicted with other figures in the Montgomery bus boycott on the charge of being party to a conspiracy to hinder and prevent the operation of business without "just or legal cause."
A United States District Court rules that racial segregation on city bus lines is unconstitutional.
Federal injunctions prohibiting segregation on buses are served on state, city and bus company officials in Montgomery. In December, Montgomery buses are integrated.
1957 — An unexploded bomb is discovered on the front porch of the Kings' house.
The Southern Christian LeadershipConference (SCLC) is founded.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower federalizes the Arkansas National Guard to escort nine Black students to an all-White high school in Little Rock.
In September, the first Civil Rights Act since Reconstruction is passed by Congress, creating the Civil Rights Commission and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.
The Kings' second child, Martin Luther III, is born.
1958 — The Rev. King, along with Roy Wilkins of the NAACP, A. Philip Randolph and Lester Granger, meet with President Eisenhower.
The Rev. King is arrested on a charge of loitering — later changed to "failure to obey an officer" — in the vicinity of the Montgomery Recorder's Court. He is released on $100 bond.
The Rev. King is convicted after pleading not guilty on the charge of failure to obey an officer. Over the Rev. King's objection, Montgomery Police Commissioner Clyde C. Sellers pays the fine.
In Harlem, N.Y., the Rev. King is stabbed in the chest by Izola Curry, who is subsequently alleged to be mentally ill.
1959 — The Rev. and Mrs. King spend a month in India studying Gandhi's techniques of nonviolence.
1960 — Students in Greensboro, N.C., hold the first lunch counter sit-in to desegregate eating facilities.
A warrant is issued for the Rev. King's arrest on charges that he had falsified his 1956 and 1958 Alabama state income tax returns. Later an all-White jury acquits him.
At an Atlanta sit-in, the Rev. King is arrested and jailed on a charge of trespassing. Later the trespassing charges are dropped. All jailed demonstrators are released except the Rev. King, who is held on a charge of violating a probated sentence in a traffic arrest case. He is finally released on a $2,000 bond.
Dexter Scott is born to the Rev. and Mrs. King.
In May, the first group of Freedom Riders, intent on integrating interstate buses, leaves Washington, D.C. The bus is burned outside of Anniston, Ala., on May 14, and a Birmingham, Ala., mob beats the Freedom Riders. The Freedom Riders are arrested in Jackson, Miss., and spend 40 to 60 days in Parchman Penitentiary.
The Rev. King visits Albany, Ga. in response to a call from the Rev. W.G. Anderson, the leader of the Albany movement to desegregate public facilities. At a demonstration, he is arrested and charged with obstructing the sidewalk and parading without a permit.
1962 — The Rev. King is tried and convicted for leading the December march in Albany, Ga. He is arrested at an Albany City Hall prayer vigil and jailed on charges of failure to obey a police officer, obstructing the sidewalk and disorderly conduct.
That fall, James Meredith makes his first attempt to enroll at the University of Mississippi. He is enrolled by Supreme Court order and escorted onto the Oxford, Miss., campus by U.S. Marshals.
1963 — The Kings' fourth child, Bernice Albertine, is born.
Sit-in demonstrations are held in Birmingham, Ala., to protest segregation. The Rev. King is arrested during a demonstration, and writes his "Letter From a Birmingham Jail" while imprisoned for demonstrating.
Eugene "Bull" Connor, director of public safety for Birmingham, orders the use of police dogs and fire hoses against the marching protesters, including young adults and children.
The Supreme Court of the United States rules Birmingham's segregation ordinances unconstitutional.
The Rev. King's book, Strength to Love, is published.
Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace tries to stop the court-ordered integration of the University of Alabama by "standing in the schoolhouse door" and personally refusing entrance to Black students and Justice Department officials. President John F. Kennedy then federalizes the Alabama National Guard, and Wallace removes himself from blocking the entry of the Negro students.
Medgar Evers, an NAACP leader in Jackson, Miss., is assassinated at his home in the early morning darkness.
In August, the March on Washington, the first large integrated protest march, is held in Washington, D.C. The Rev. King delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Afterward, he and other civil rights leaders meet with President John F. Kennedy in the White House.
In September, Gov. Wallace orders Alabama state troopers to stop the court-ordered integration of Alabama's elementary and high schools until prevented by court injunction. Four young girls are killed in a Birmingham church bombing.
In November, President Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
1964 — The Rev. King joins a demonstration for the integration of public accommodations in St. Augustine, Fla. He is jailed.
Three civil rights workers, James Chaney, who is Black, and Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, both White, are reported missing after a short trip to Philadelphia, Miss. Their bodies are not found until the following year. Neshoba County Sheriff Rainey and his deputy, Cecil Price, are allegedly implicated in the murders.
The Rev. King and the Rev. Ralph Abernathy visit West Berlin, Germany, at the invitation of Mayor Willy Brandt.
The Rev. King has an audience with Pope Paul VI at the Vatican.
The Rev. King receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.
1965 — Malcolm X, leader of the Organization of Afro-American Unity and former Black Muslim leader, is murdered in New York City.
More than 3,000 protests marchers leave Selma, Ala., for a march to Montgomery, protected by federal troops. They are joined along the way by 25,000 marchers. Upon reaching the capitol, they hear an address by the Rev. King. Viola Liuzzo, wife of a Detroit Teamsters Union business agent, is shot and killed while driving a carload of marchers back to Selma.
In Alabama, the SCLC spearheads voter registration campaigns in December, Green, Wilcox and Eutaw counties and in the cities of Montgomery and Birmingham.
The 1965 Voting Rights Act is signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
In Watts, the Black ghetto of Los Angeles, riots leave a total of 35 dead. Twenty-eight are Black.
1966 — The Rev. King tours Alabama to help elect Black candidates. The Alabama primary election is held, and for the first time since Reconstruction, Blacks vote in significant numbers.
An antiwar statement by the Rev. King is read at a large Washington rally to protest the war in Vietnam.
Stokely Carmichael and Willie Ricks, of the SNCC, use the slogan "Black Power" in public for the first time.
James Meredith is shot soon after beginning his 220-mile "March Against Fear" from Memphis, Tenn., to Jackson, Miss.
The Rev. King launches a drive to make Chicago an "open city" with regard to housing. The Rev. King is pelted by stones as he leads a march through crowds of angry Whites in Southwest Chicago.
The SCLC launches a project with the aim of integrating schools in Grenada, Miss., and initiates the Alabama Citizen Education Project in Wilcox County.
1967 — The Rev. King writes his book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? while in Jamaica.
Alabama is ordered to desegregate all public schools.
The Rev. King attacks the government's Vietnam policy in a Chicago speech.
A Black student is killed in a riot on the campus of all-Black Jackson State College in Jackson, Miss.
The Justice Department reports that more than 50 percent of all eligible Black voters are registered in Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina.
Forty-three die and 324 are injured in the Detroit riots, the worst of the century. The Rev. King and fellow Black leaders A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins and Whitney Young appeal for an end to the riots, "which have proved ineffective and damaging to the civil rights cause and the entire nation."
The Supreme Court upholds the contempt-of-court convictions of the Rev. King and seven other Black leaders who led the 1963 marches in Birmingham, Ala. The Rev. King and his aides serve four-day sentences.
The Rev. King announces the formation of a Poor People's Campaign, with the aim of representing the problems of poor Blacks and Whites.
1968 — The Rev. King's last speech, "I've Been to the Mountaintop," isdelivered at the Memphis, Tenn., Masonic Temple. The Rev. King is assassinated as he stands talking on the balcony of his second-floor room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. He dies in St. Joseph's Hospital from a gunshot wound to the neck. The Rev. King is later buried in Atlanta.
1986 — Following passage of Public Law 98-144, President Ronald W. Reagan signs a proclamation declaring the third Monday in January of each year a public holiday in honor of the birthday of the Rev King.