Martin Luther King Jr. was born on Tuesday,
January 15, 1929 at the family home in Atlanta, Georgia. He lived
with his parents, Reverend Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams
King, as well as his grandparents and his two siblings, Christine and Alfred
Daniel Williams King.
The King children all took piano lessons
from their mother. They also enjoyed playing sports such as football
and baseball and doing other odd jobs. Martin was a paper boy and
wanted to be a fireman when he grew up. Their father was a Baptist
minister and he was in charge of the children's moral and religious education.
From the time that Martin was born,
he knew that black people and white people had different rights in certain
parts America. If a black family wanted to eat at a restaurant, they
had to sit in a separate section of the restaurant. They had to sit
in the back of the movie theater, and even use separate restroom facilities.
He did not understand this. The laws that kept black people and white
people apart were called Jim Crow laws.
One day, Martin and his father went
to buy some new shoes. The clerk told them to go to the back of the
store. "We do not serve colored in the front of the store," he said.
Martin and his father proceeded to leave the store, as they knew that this
was not respectful treatment. Martin's mother told him, "even though
some people make you feel bad or angry, you should not show it. You
are as good as anyone else."
At the age of five, Martin Luther King
Jr. began school at Yonge Street Elementary School in Atlanta. This,
however, was before the legal school entrance age of six; thus, Martin
was not allowed to continue his education until he turned six years old.
Following his education at Yonge Street Elementary School, he attended
David T. Howard Elementary School. He also attended the Atlanta University
Laboratory School and Booker T. Washington High School. He scored
so high on his college entrance exam at Booker High School that he did
not formally finish high school, he went on to college in his junior year
of high school.