Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was born Michael Luther King, Jr., but later had his name changed to Martin. His grandfather began the family’s long tenure as pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, serving from 1914 to 1931; his father has served from then until his death, and from 1960 until his death Martin Luther acted as co-pastor. Martin Luther attended segregated public schools in Georgia, graduating from high school at the age of fifteen; he received the B. A. degree in 1948 from Morehouse College, a distinguished Negro institution of Atlanta from which both his father and grandfather had graduated. After three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania where he was elected president of a predominantly white senior class, he was awarded the B.D. in 1951. In Boston he met and married Coretta Scott, a young woman of uncommon intellectual and artistic attainments.
On February 14, 1957, a new organization was founded in New Orleans!
In 1953, there was a bus boycott in the City of Baton Rouge, Louisiana lead by Rev. Theodore Judson Jemison, Pastor of Mount Zion First Baptist Church and President of the National Baptist Convention. Almost two years later, his colleague and friend, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called and visited Rev. Jemison to get information on conducting a non-violent direct action in the form of a bus boycott. Also, in 1955, the MIA (The Montgomery Improvement Association – 1955-1969) of clergy and civic leaders was formed with Rev. King as its President. Other leaders in the formation of the MIA were Rev. Dr. Ralph Abernathy, JoAnn Robinson and Edgar D. Nixon. As faith would have it or perhaps staged as claimed by some, Montgomery (AL) NAACP Branch Secretary Rosa Louise McCauley Parks refused to move to the back of the bus after paying the required fare and taking a seat. Her actions lead to a boycott of city busses which lasted 381 days.
President of the National Beauty Culturalist League, Inc.
“Tell them about the Dream Martin, tell them about the Dream!”
From 1953-1957, Dr. King made numerous visits to Louisiana for meetings, rallies, and other activities, especially the three largest cities of New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport which coincidentally all recently elected their first African American female Mayor. Dr. King had very close relationship with New Orleanians Joseph Verrett, Marcus Neustadter, Constant Charles Dejoie, Sr., Rev. Abraham Lincoln Davis, Jr., Rev. Avery Alexander, and Dr. Leonard Burns. They were all a part of the February 1, 1957 rally at the Coliseum Arena located at 401 North Roman Street in New Orleans. Where in spite of inclement weather, more than two thousand gathered to hear Dr. King speak. Other locations in New Orleans where Dr. King spoke included: The Chapel at Dillard University, Union Bethel A.M.E. Church at 2321 Thalia Street, and the International Longshoreman’s Association (ILA) at 2700 South Claiborne Avenue. SCLC MEMBERS PICTURED (L-R): Clarence "Chink" Henry, Earl A. Amedee, Ernest "Dutch" Morial, Ellis Hull, Benny Ross, and Rev. A.L. Davis.
(PICTURED L-R) Clarence "Chink" Henry; Wyatt T. Walker; Martin Luther King, Jr.; A.L. Davis, Jr.; and Attorney Israel Meyer Augustine
First local SCLC President and Pastor of New Zion B.C.
"Don't Buy Where You Can't Work" Campaign in front of F.W. Woolworth in New Orleans
Organization of SCLC Initially, the group was called the Southern Negroes Leaders Conference. The meeting was called to order with worship on Thursday, January 10, 1957 at 2:00 PM by Rev. S.S. Seay, Sr. “On January 10, 1957, more than 100 Southern leaders gathered in Atlanta, Georgia to share and discuss their mutual problems of the Southern struggle.” The primary focus was the idea of a regional organization to fight injustices in segregated transportation. The name was changed from Southern Negroes Leaders Conference to the Southern Leadership Conference on Transportation and Nonviolent Integration. According to the “We Are SCLC” Informational Brochure: “Two months later, close on the heels of the successful Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott, SCLC came into being, in New Orleans, Louisiana.” The organization meeting was held in the City of New Orleans at New Zion Baptist Church, pastored by Rev. Abraham Lincoln Davis, Jr., the Southern Leadership Conference on Transportation and Nonviolent Integration was organized into the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
Millie M. Charles
Theodore H. George, Sr.
Florida Carr Hargrove
Rev. Dr. Ernest Marcelle
Dr. Dwight McKenna
Rev. Dr. Samson "Skip" Alexander
Dr. Raphael Cassimere, Jr.
Barbara Lacen Keller
Atty. Robert K. "Bob" Moffett
Lloyd A. Richards
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