Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Education of Martin Luther King

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Martin Luther King became a civil rights activist against Jim Crow laws during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, sparked by Rosa Parks.


In remembering the role of Martin Luther King in the Montgomery Bus Boycott with Rosa Parks, also remember that MLK was more than a gifted speaker, who lectured America about the civil evils of Jim Crow Laws and segregation in the 1950s and 1960s. Well prepared academically, he began his career in civil rights activism during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, sparked by Rosa Parks in 1955. Through the NAACP, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks worked together during the boycott to begin bringing down segregation in the 1950s.

Martin Luther King was a highly intelligent man, proof of which showed in his education and academic credentials. Early in his education, King skipped both ninth and twelfth grades, tested his way out of high school at age 15 before graduation. Because a college education was so prized in the African American community, King entered Morehouse College, where he earned Bachelor's degree in sociology. King received a Bachelor of Divinity from Cozier College, while also studying at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1955, three months before Rosa Parks sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and hurled King into national prominence, he received his Doctorate of Philosophy in Systematic Theology from Boston University.

Honorary Degrees from U.S. and international colleges and universities. during his lifetime and posthumously, Dr. King also was awarded:
1957 - Doctor of Humane Letters, Morehouse College; Doctor of Laws, Howard University; Doctor of Divinity, Chicago Theological Seminary
1958 - Doctor of Laws, Morgan State College; Doctor of Humanities, Central State College
1959 - Doctor of Divinity, Boston University
1961 - Doctor of Laws, Lincoln University; Doctor of Laws, University of Bridgeport
1962 - Doctor of Civil Laws, Bard College
1963 - Doctor of Letters, Keuka College
1964 - Doctor of Divinity, Wesleyan College; Doctor of Laws, Jewish Theological Seminary; Doctor of Laws, Yale University; Doctor of Divinity, Springfield College
1965 - Doctor of Laws, Hofstra University; Doctor of Human Letters, Oberlin College; Doctor of Social Science, Amsterdam Free University; Doctor of Divinity, St. Peter's College
1967 - Doctor of Civil Law, University of New Castle Upon Tyne; Doctor of Laws, Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa



At age 35, Dr. King was the youngest man in history to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The second American after Theodore Roosevelt, Dr. King is also the second African American in history to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The first African American to win the Nobel Peace Prize was Ralph Bunche in 1950 and the third black recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize is President Barack Obama

Photo: Martin Luther King Receives Nobel Peace Prize, Coretta King (right)
CREDIT: Rev. Martin Luther King congratulated
by Crown Prince Harald & King Olav
Mrs. Coretta King (right) 
UPI Photo 1964 Dec 10. Library of Congress
Scholarly and Leadership Awards received below and others listed in the Archives of the Martin Luther King, Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia.
1957 - Among Time’s most outstanding personalities
1957 - Who's Who in America
1957 - NAACP Spingarn Medal Recipient
1957 - National Newspaper Publishers’ Russwurm Award
1958.- Guardian Association of the Police Department of New York, Second Annual Achievement Award
1959 - Among New Delhi, India, Link Magazine’s sixteen world leaders who contributed most to the advancement of freedom
1963 - Time Man of the Year
1963 - Laundry, Dry Cleaning, and Die Workers International Union’s American of the Decade
1964 - United Federation of Teachers’ John Dewey Award
1964 - Catholic Interracial Council of Chicago John F. Kennedy Award
1968 - Jamaican Government Marcus Garvey Prize for Human Rights (posthumously)
1968 - Southern Christian Leadership Conference Rosa Parks Award (posthumously)

At the time Martin Luther King delivered I Had a Dream at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, none imaged that fifty years would pass so soon and the projections of his speech would come true. However, Martin Luther King's projections did come true. Martin Luther King's was not the only prediction made in the 1960s about a black man becoming president. 

In 1968, Robert Kennedy predicted that a black man would become president in 40 years. That is precisely what happened forty years later. Barack Obama is living proof of Bobby Kennedy's prediction. In 2008, Barack Obama was elected president. 

Without the courage of Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy and so many others who died because of race relations in the tumultuous 1960s, there may not have been a Barack Obama presidency this soon.

More Articles on Martin Luther King 

by Sunny Nash


I watched Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, civil rights and the dismantling of Jim Crow laws unfold on the evening news on television along with every other American household that had a television in their living room. 

See full video of Martin Luther King's 'I Have A Dream,' written after Rosa Parks sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and ignited the modern Civil Rights Movement against Jim Crow laws.

Martin Luther King: Dream Speech
Read full text of Martin Luther King's 'I Have A Dream,' written after Rosa Parks sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and ignited the modern Civil Rights Movement against Jim Crow laws.


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Blogger, Sunny Nash, is a writer, producer, photographer and leading author on race relations in America. 




Sunny Nash produces blogs, media, books, articles and images on history and contemporary topics, from slavery, the Civil War, Jim Crow and civil rights to post racism, social media, entertainment and technology using her book, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s, as a basis for commentary and research.

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Sunny Nash's book was selected by the Association of American University Press as a resource for understanding U.S. race relations and recommended for Native American Collections by the Miami-Dade Public Library System.

"My book, 'Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's,' began in the 1990s. I was writing for Hearst and Knight-Ridder newspapers. The stories are about my childhood with my part-Comanche grandmother, Bigmama, my parents, relatives, friends, and others; and my interpretation of the events surrounding the Jim Crow South before and during the Civil Rights Movement.

Robin Fruble of Southern California said, "Every white person in America should read this book! Sunny Nash writes the story of her childhood without preaching or ranting but she made me realize for the first time just how much skin color changes how one experiences the world. But if your skin color is brown, it matters a great deal to a great number of people. I needed to learn that. Sunny Nash is a great teacher," Fruble said.

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