The day Martin Luther King was killed – level 2

04-04-1968

In 1865, slavery ended in the United States, but 90 years later, society was still divided for whites and black, especially in the south. There were many racist rules. There were separate restaurants, toilets, and shops. There were also special rules for whites and blacks in public transport.

Martin Luther King was 26 years old at that time. He told other black people that a fight was needed, but he didn’t want any violence. He wanted only non-violent protests.

Thousands of black people stopped using public transport. It was their form of protest. When they wanted to get somewhere, they were only walking or cycling. They wanted to cancel the racist rules. It took a whole year. Then the rules were canceled. King celebrated his first big victory.

Another success came in 1963. At that time, King organized a big demonstration in Washington where he gave his most famous speech named “I have a dream”. It was one of the best speeches in American history.

King changed America. In 1964, the government made a law that guaranteed the same rights for all people. In the same year, King received the Nobel Peace Prize.

In the spring of 1968, he went to Memphis where he gave another speech. The next day, on April 4, 1968, he was shot at a motel where he was staying. He was badly injured. He died one hour later in hospital.

Difficult words: slavery (the system when people have slaves), violence (behavior when people destroy something), speech (an official talk to a group of people), receive (to get).

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