Martin Luther King Jr.: Early Life In The South

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Formative Years
Early Life in the South
Michael Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 5, 1929 to Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King, the second of three children. King’s residence in Atlanta saw a city filled with segregation. Most residents of color were treated as if they were the bottom of the barrel. They would only be allowed to shop in the back of stores, and were not allowed to eat at the counters in restaurants. There was however, a small black “middle-class” population in Atlanta which included teachers, ministers, and doctors (Haskins, 1977). The adults within this population encouraged their young black children to engage in education as it was one of the only options for these children that would
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Literature dictates that King viewed his father as “a real father, who always put family first” (Schraff, 2005). The King children referred to their parents as “Daddy King” and “Mother Dear,” according to Farris. Their family was very close and was always expected to come together for meals. They would engage in conversation about their days, lives, or even interests while at the table- a trait which is not often seen these days. King was known for having an advanced intellect growing up. He was enrolled in elementary school at the same time as his sister, at age 5 (his sister was a year older at 6). King divulged his true age while in school, (due to his inability to keep a secret), and was sent home as the entry age for school was 6 years…show more content…
His earliest friends of remembrance were two white boys, whose father owned a grocery store. When the children started school, they were sent to different institutions- one for whites, and one for blacks. Upon starting school, the boys’ friendship ended due to the white boy’s parents forbidding them to play with each other anymore (Wolfson, 2003). King “would recall the loss of his friend as one of the most painful experiences of his childhood... He was so troubled that he struggled with feelings of hatred toward white people” (Schraff, 2005). When he brought this up to his parents they helped him to understand the concept of racism. They indicated to him that although his feelings were so heavy, it was his duty as a Christian to “love” all
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