From 2019 EJI Calendar
1956: Dr. Martin Luther King’s house in Montgomery, Alabama is bombed while he speaks at a mass meeting; he later addresses an angry crowd pleading nonviolence.
From EJI Timeline
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Home Bombed in Montgomery, Alabama
On the evening of January 10, 1956, one month after the beginning of the Montgomery bus boycott, the Montgomery, Alabama, home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was bombed while his wife Coretta, seven-week-old daughter Yolanda, and a neighbor were inside. The front of the home was damaged but no one was injured.
Dr. King was speaking at a large meeting when he learned about the bombing. He rushed home to find some 300 African Americans gathered outside, some carrying weapons and prepared to take action in his defense. The crowd cheered Dr. King’s arrival, and the mayor and police commissioner urged the crowd to remain calm and promised the bombing would be fully investigated.
Dr. King confirmed his family was safe and then addressed the anxious and angry crowd, many of whom were members of his church. He advocated for nonviolence. “If you have weapons,” he pleaded, “take them home; if you do not have them, please do not seek them. We cannot solve this problem through violence. We must meet violence with nonviolence.” The crowd dispersed peacefully after Dr. King assured them, “Go home and don’t worry. We are not hurt, and remember, if anything happens to me there will be others to take my place.”