Martin Luther King, Jr., was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 15, 1929. He was the oldest son of the Reverend and Mrs. Martin Luther King. He was named Michael Luther after his father. Later, the Reverend King changed both their names to Martin Luther in honor a great church leader.
When Martin was a kid, he was exposed to the racial prejudices. One day his father took him to buy new shoes. When they sat down in the store, the clerk asked them to move to the back of the store. Dr. King took Martin by the hand and left the store rather than take that treatment. Another time, the parents of boys Martin played with told him that they could no longer come out to play with him because they were white and he was black. Martin's feelings were hurt. His mother tried to explain about prejudice.
She told him that blacks were no longer slaves, but they were not really free.
Martin liked sports. He played baseball, basketball and wrestling. But he especially liked reading. He liked reading about famous people in black history. He found out what it took for them to overcome difficulties and become successful. He liked to learn new words and use them. He was also fascinated by watching his father, Martin Luther King, Sr., Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, and other ministers control audiences with skillfully chosen words. He wanted to follow in their footsteps. He made words central in his life, as weapons of defense and offense. His mother said that she could not recall a time when he was not intrigued by the sound and power of words. When he got to high school, his ability to use words won him oratorical contests.
When he was...