On this day in history: Martin Luther King was arrested

Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

On March 22, 1956, Reverend Martin Luther King was arrested and imprisoned for six months after he led a public boycott by black people in Montgomery, Alabama.

The boycott was the first mass meeting of the Montgomery Improvement Association, which attracted several thousand people to the spacious Holt Street Baptist Church. In his speech, King described the mistreatment of black bus passengers and the civil disobedience of Rosa Parks, and then justified the non-violent protest by appealing to African-American Christian faith in love and justice and the American democratic tradition of legal protest.

Police Arresting Martin Luther King

King’s famous “I have a dream” speech in 1963 would later speak for black people around the world. He condemned South Africa’s apartheid regime on many occasions.

On 10 December 1962 King and Chief Albert Luthuli launched a Humans Rights Campaign in which they appealed for “Action against Apartheid”.


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