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The Best Short Professional Bios (Examples + Templates)

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Summary. To write a short bio you should first make an initial introduction introducing yourself in the first or first person. Your short bio should include your brand, your accomplishments, and your values and goals. Your short bio should be one to three short paragraphs or four to eight sentences long.

Knowing how to write a concise, informative, and interesting biography about yourself can help throughout various parts of the professional process. You can use your bio to capture the attention of potential employers or clients and convince them to choose to employ or work with you.

In this article, you’ll learn more about what goes into a short bio and how to write one, and you’ll also get to see some short bio templates and examples to help you get an idea of what yours should look like.

Key Takeaways

A short bio serves to introduce you, your achievements, and what you offer professionally to potential employers or clients.

It’s important to keep your bio brief so that readers stay engaged and will remember your main points.

You may need to adjust your bio for different audiences, as your clients may want to know different information than a recruiter would.

Talk about your skills and accomplishments in your bio, but don’t exaggerate them.

How to Write a Short Bio

What Is a Short Bio?

How to write a short bio, what to include in a short professional bio, short bio examples, short bio templates, tips for writing a short bio, writing a short bio faq.

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A short bio serves as your introduction to the professional world. In terms of finding or expanding on your job, a bio will cover your:

Work history


Any other relevant professional information

Think of it as a professional memoir that a hiring manager or consumer can read and understand quickly. It’s usually about one to three paragraphs depending on experience.

There’s an emphasis on being succinct when it comes to writing a professional bio. This is because a bio is supposed to be a preface to attract recruiter attention and incline them to reach out for more information. Many readers will get lost or bored with a lengthy bio.

Using a short bio can be helpful across very different industries, from marketing to accounting, from psychiatry to sales.

You’re probably familiar with providing short bios on social media websites and applications. While the information and skills you include in a professional bio may differ, the general formatting is similar.

There’s a lot of considerations to take into account when writing a short bio, and it can quickly become intimidating. Deciding what information is relevant and how to keep it near 140 characters is no small task.

If you’re having difficulty writing a short bio, follow the outline below to craft an introduction that engages your reader.

Make an initial introduction. You can’t jump right into everything you’ve done and what you want to do in the future before introducing yourself.

Your bio’s first sentence should begin with your full name in the third person or introduce yourself in the first person and continue to briefly outline your most notable skills and accomplishments. It’s a good place to state your current job and employer.

Go deeper with what motivates you. Once you’ve catchily illustrated who you are in your short bio, you can use the second sentence to describe your motivations for your work.

Stating what drives you to do the work you do is essential to employers and customers alike. Whether you work as a physician or fitness consultant , there’s a reason why this is your profession, and you should explain that in your short professional bio.

Describe your accomplishments. Your short bio is for detailing why you’re the ideal candidate to be trusted with handling an employer or consumer’s business. By describing your prior accomplishments, you let them know what you could offer as an employee and how you’ve succeeded in the past.

While you should avoid sounding braggy, the reader is looking for information about what your qualifications are , and your accomplishments generally measure these qualities.

Even though you could probably go on for ages about the details of your accomplishments, save that for an interview . In a short bio, only include the most impressive of your achievements to outline.

Accomplishments relevant to a short bio could include:

Impressive results on a project

Former promotions

Awards received in your field

Certifications received

Include contact information. The purpose of a short bio as either a business or a job seeker is to inspire the reader to reach out. Without contact information, this pursuit becomes futile. Make sure your short bio has some way to contact you at the end.

Relevant contact information may include:

Phone number

Professional networking profile

A short professional bio includes:

Your full name. You can choose to write your bio in the first person (I, me, my) or third person (he, she, they), but either way, you need to include your full name at some point. Branding doesn’t work so well without a brand name (i.e., you!)

Your brand. Of course, if you have an actual brand that you’re trying to market, you should include the brand name as well.

What you do. Summarize what you want the reader to know about what you do in one sentence — tricky, we know.

Your accomplishments. For a short bio, you can stick with just one major accomplishment from your professional life. Or, if you have a string of impressive achievements, try condensing all of them down to one sentence.

Your goals and values. Let the reader know what makes you tick — why do you do what you do and what do you hope to achieve with your work? People are compelled by a story more than anything else, so it’s important to get this part right.

Something personal (optional). If you have a quirky tidbit about yourself you’d like to include, go for it. Just make sure it doesn’t throw off te the tone of the rest of your bio.

Contact info (optional). If your bio is serving as a call-to-action to drum up business or get leads on job opportunities, it makes sense to include your contact information at the end of your bio. It’s not necessary if that information is available elsewhere on the page , though.

Entry-Level Job-Seeker Bio Example

Mitchell Morrison is an upcoming video producer and editor who believes in the art of visual organization. He is a recent graduate from the University of Washington and focused on post-production during his time studying there. He was introduced to the magical world of visual art production by watching his father work on editing commercials growing up and has been working towards his dream of becoming a video editor ever since. During his last year of college, Mitchell participated in a competitive internship with Digital Space Films. He was chosen out of 2,000 applicants based on his academic portfolio and personal statement essay. This internship was an incredible learning experience and resulted in three professional accreditations for music video editing. Mitchell currently lives in Seattle, Washington pursuing freelance opportunities and spending time with his Dog, Pikachu. To get into contact with Mitchell: MitchellMorrisonVideo.com/contact

Working Professional Website Bio Example

Lisa Kennedy is an experienced real estate professional. She knows how important a home is for long-term happiness and has invested her career in putting people in the house they’ve always dreamed of. Lisa was driven to pursue real estate from her passion for helping people during life-altering times, and a keen interest in high-end, luxury homes. She’s been working in the real estate industry for ten years and in that time has assisted over 3,500 people in finding homes. She was educated at the University of Los Angeles with a bachelor’s in business management. She’s worked for some of the most respectable Real Estate companies in Los Angeles and individually under her agency “Kennedy Homes.” Lisa has also been published in Real Estate Quarterly Magazine as the 2017 winner of the “Top Luxury Home Seller” award. Lisa loves the culture of Los Angeles and has been living there with her family of five since she graduated from college. She enjoys spending her free time exploring towns along the West Coast and swimming. If you’d like to get in touch with Lisa: Email: [email protected]

Professional Networking Profile Bio Example

Bianca Jones Marketing Manager Miami, FL The first step towards customer satisfaction is being reached by stellar product marketing, and that’s what I aim to provide. My professional experience as a product marketing manager has allowed me to assist many organizations in improving their sales margins and audience response to emerging products. I’ve brought dedication and positive results to the companies I’ve worked for because I am passionate about product perception, marketing, and business statistics. What drives a product to success interests and inspires me. I specialize in long-term growth strategies and audience outreach. In addition to eight years of experience in professional product marketing, I have also published two books on creating a career as a marketer called “What to Do After Your Bachelor’s” and “A Marketer’s How-To.” If you’re interested in learning more about how to market your business better, or just discuss more, feel free to contact me by email at [email protected].

Your first choice is whether you want your bio to be written in the third person or first person. These short bio templates show both options, and also include different ideas for what to include, and how. Feel free to pick and choose your favorite parts of each of the two.

[Full Name] is a [job title] who [believes/knows] in the power of [what you do]. [He/She/They] began their journey in [field] by [how you got started in the field], and now dreams of [what you hope to accomplish]. [His/Her/Their] biggest accomplishment to date has been [your biggest accomplishment]. [Full Name] lives in [where you live] and participates in [a hobby/interest]. To get in touch with [Full Name], call/email/message me on [how you’d like to be contacted].
I am a [job title] who helps [who you help] [what you help them do]. It’s my belief that [your unique perspective on the field]. In the past [# of years] years, I’ve [major accomplishment #1] through [how you accomplished it]. I have a passion for [your professional passion], but on the side, I also enjoy [personal passion]. Get in touch with me today at [contact info] — I look forward to talking with you about [what you want to talk to your readers about].

You have a firm grasp of the structure of a short bio and what to include. Now, you may need some tips for how to polish your short professional bio and make it stand out from the competition.

Be mindful of length. While you’re probably getting sick of hearing that your bio should be short, it’s good to keep in mind throughout the writing process. It’s easy to go off on a tangent while trying to include everything relevant or rationalize, making your bio too long.

Avoid this impulse. The point of a bio is that it’s limited. You want to intrigue the reader enough to inspire them to seek more information about you or your services.

Tailor your bio to your intended audience. Whether you’re using a short bio to attract a particular customer base or potential employer, tailoring it to fit their wants and needs is crucial. Consider your intended audience base and what they’re looking for in a candidate or service.

Be genuine. Your short bio should be an authentic representation of your traits, experience, and personality. People are repelled by what they interpret as stretching the truth. If you’re being received as disingenuous by the reader, they’ll probably move on.

Proofread. The only way to steer clear of errors in your short bio is by proofreading it. Imagine a hiring manager being completely interested in your bio.

They love what you have to say about yourself and find your prior experience enticing. That is, until they come across a mistake that clearly shows you didn’t do proofread or edit.

Include links to your portfolio, website, or networking profile. One way to circumvent the confining factor of keeping your bio short is by including links to more detailed sources.

This can be in the form of linking your portfolio or website to allow the reader to go deeper into your discussed skills if they please, without taking up more space in your bio.

Implement these links seamlessly into your bio by attaching them to anchor words that describe what clicking will lead them to.

Add some personality. You aren’t the only person who has an impressive list of accomplishments to put on a bio, so you’re going to need to find some additional ways to make an impression.

What should a short bio include?

A short bio should include your name, what you do, and your achievements. You should also include your company or product’s brand, if you have one, and your goals and motivations for doing what you do. This humanizes you and helps you stand out from the rest of the pack.

How long is a short bio?

A short bio is typically one to three paragraphs long. These should be short paragraphs though, as other experts say that between four and eight sentences is the ideal length for a short bio.

What makes a good bio?

A good bio is succinct and memorable. Readers don’t want to spend long reading about your professional and personal life, so go back and cut it down to the important parts multiple times after you draft it. You might be surprised at how little you actually need to include.

What should you avoid putting in a short bio?

You should avoid including anything negative or arrogate. It’s never a good idea to write anything negative about previous jobs or employers. Only include positive things in your professional short bio.

It’s important to include your achievements in a short bio, but there is a fine line between mentioning your achievements and bragging about them. Stick to the facts when talking about your accomplishments.

Fremont University – Building Your Professional Bio

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Sky Ariella is a professional freelance writer, originally from New York. She has been featured on websites and online magazines covering topics in career, travel, and lifestyle. She received her BA in psychology from Hunter College.

Don Pippin is an executive and HR leader for Fortune 50 and 500 companies and startups. In 2008, Don launched area|Talent with a focus on helping clients identify their brand. As a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Digital Career Strategist, and Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Don guides clients through career transitions.

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27 of the Best Professional Bio Examples I've Ever Seen [+ Templates]

Lindsay Kolowich Cox

Published: December 20, 2023

As a writer, I have to let readers and potential clients know my expertise, my skills, and why they should work with me or be interested in what I say. So, a professional bio is a must in my industry.

Hands type at a laptop

Though I'm definitely familiar with professional bios, I can admit they can be challenging. What do I include? What do readers need to know?

As daunting as writing a professional bio can be, professional bios are crucial when applying for jobs, seeking new clients, or networking. A professional bio also gives the world a brief snapshot of you and your professional ideals.

If you‘re at a loss for how to write a professional bio that packs a punch, I’ve got you covered. In this journey, tools like HubSpot’s user-friendly drag-and-drop website builder can be instrumental in showcasing your professional bio online with ease and style.

I will walk you through how to write a professional bio that you can proudly publish, provide professional bio templates, and show you the best professional bio examples you can get inspiration from.

→ Download Now: 80 Professional Bio Examples [Free Templates]

What is a professional bio?

Professional bio templates, how to write a professional bio, best professional bio examples, how to write a short bio.

short biography videos

80+ Professional Bio Templates & Examples

Create a compelling professional narrative for a proper, attention-grabbing introduction.

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A professional bio or biography is a short overview of your experience. Professional bios usually include details about education, employment, achievements, and relevant skills.

Purpose of Professional Bios

A bio tells an audience about who you are, what you've done, and what you can do. It can help potential employers, fans, or customers understand your personality and what you stand for.

Writing a bio without a clear starting point is challenging — believe me, I've tried. To ease the process, here are some templates I put together to get you started.

I‘ve found it’s best to keep your professional bio honest and to the point. Too long of a bio, and you risk losing your audience's attention. After all, audiences will only read a web page for less than a minute before clicking elsewhere.

And honesty is key because most consumers and clients won‘t invest in someone or something if it doesn’t seem trustworthy. In fact, 67% of consumers say they must trust a brand before investing in its products or services.

short biography videos

"Plus," she adds, "I'm always happy to talk about my cats at any given moment. You never know when a fellow cat mom could be reading."

Values and Work Approach

Your values can sometimes show your work ethic more effectively than your career path. It can also help you endear yourself to employers and colleagues who want to work with people with similar values.

So don‘t be shy: Share how you incorporate your values into your work. Whether it’s a commitment to innovation, customer satisfaction, or ethical decision-making, explain what drives you and be enthusiastic about it.

Your Personality

Remember: Your bio should always include a taste of your personality! Your sense of humor, creativity, or collaborative nature could all give readers a sense of who you are. This helps readers connect with you on a more personal level.

Remember to tailor your bio for different platforms and audiences. Also, keep it concise and impactful while highlighting the most relevant information in each context.

First-Person Bio vs. Third-Person Bio

While first-person bios are common, third-person bios can be more effective in formal situations.

Your decision to write your professional bio in the first or third person depends on your desire to leave a more personable or assertive impression.

Both approaches work, provided you tailor them to your goals and audience. What’s important is to be clear and tell your story in a way that connects with your reader.

How to Write a First-Person Bio

Writing in the first person can be a great way to connect with your audience when building a personal brand. When you write a first-person bio, use "I" or "me" to make yourself relatable and approachable.

Here's one way I’d write a first-person bio:

"I'm a freelance writer specializing in small business content. I've worked with companies in a variety of industries like home care to fine leather goods."

Speaking in the first person here connects you with a client or brand based on your experience and opinions. Put another way, writing a first-person bio is like telling your story to your audience.

Here are a few tips to make your first-person bio great:

Don’t start every sentence with "I."

Showing instead of telling is a great approach.

Let’s say you’re a writer who wants to create a short professional bio. Instead of saying, "I love to write," you can say, "Writer. Bad but enthusiastic dancer."

This portrays your writing skill, shows your personality outside of writing as a dancer, and includes a little sense of humor, which is essential for a writer.

Remember, you know yourself better than anyone.

Adding a back story to your bio helps create context for the roles and successes you write about. Think of it like a case study about who you were, what you are now, and the process that got you to your current position.

Focus on valuable details.

Quick facts about you can showcase your identity and values. For example, if you're writing a bio for LinkedIn, think about how to tie your hobby into what you do.

Let's say Animal Crossing is your hobby. Does it align with your career aspirations? It can be a great addition to your bio if you want to pursue a video game career.

However, if your interests lie elsewhere, including a more relevant hobby is better.

How to Write a Third-Person Bio

Third-person bios sound more authoritative and objective. So, if you’re job searching in a formal industry, applying for grants, or trying to get published, you may want to stick to the third person.

For instance, when you write a third-person bio, you may start with:

"Jasmine Montgomery is a Senior Hiring Manager at L’Oreal based in New York. She recruits across several business units to connect with the brightest talent from around the globe."

By only using your name and pronouns to speak about yourself here, you are letting your title and skill set speak for themselves.

These bios create distance between the subject of the bio (you) and the reader through a third person. This person could be anyone, but they usually speak in a tone emphasizing their expertise.

This makes third-person bios feel aloof or overly formal sometimes.

Ideally, your third-person bio should sound friendly but polished, like a message from a close colleague at work. Here are a few tips on how to write a great third-person bio.

Write from the perspective of someone you know and trust.

It can be challenging to write about yourself, so try to see yourself from the perspective of your favorite person at work or a mentor you trust. This can help you write from a position of authority without feeling self-conscious.

Show the reader why they should trust your opinion.

A professional bio often reflects a specific industry or niche. With this in mind, your text should include relevant details that professionals in your industry know. Avoid jargon whenever you can.

Remember, you're telling a story.

If you want a third-person bio, but you're used to writing in first-person, it may help to write it the most comfortable way for you.

Your professional bio is an essential piece of writing, so edit it carefully. Edit your writing from both points of view and see which works best for your target audience.

Here's how to write a professional bio, step by step.

  • Create an 'About' page for your website or profile.
  • Begin writing your bio with your first and last name.
  • Mention any associated brand name you might use.
  • State your current position and what you do.
  • Include at least one professional accomplishment.
  • Describe your values and how they inform your career.
  • Briefly tell your readers who you are outside of work.
  • Use humor or a personal story to add flavor to your professional bio.

If you’re anything like me, you probably don't think about your professional bio until you’re asked to "send one over via email."

You have one afternoon to come up with it, so you scramble together a bio that ends up reading like this:

"Rodney Erickson is a content marketing professional at HubSpot, a CRM platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers.

Previously, Rodney worked as a marketing manager for a tech software startup. He graduated with honors from Columbia University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing."

To be fair, in certain contexts, your professional bio needs to be more formal, like Mr. Erickson's up there. But there are also cases where writing a personable and conversational bio is good.

Whether you choose the formal or casual route, use the following steps to create a perfect bio.

1. Create an 'About' page for your website or profile.

You need an online space to keep your professional bio. Here are a few to consider (some of these you might already have in place):

  • Facebook Business page .
  • Industry blog byline .
  • Instagram account .
  • Personal website .
  • LinkedIn profile .
  • Industry website .
  • Personal blog .

As you'll see in the professional bio examples below, the length and tone of your bio will differ depending on the platforms you use.

Instagram, for example, allows only 150 characters of bio space, whereas you can write as much as you want on your website or Facebook Business page.

2. Begin writing your bio with your first and last name.

If your readers remember nothing else about your bio, they should remember your name. Therefore, it's a good idea for your first and last name to be the first two words of your professional bio.

Even if your name is printed above this bio (hint: it should), this is a rare moment where it's okay to be redundant.

For example, if I were writing my bio, I might start it like this:

Lindsay Kolowich

Lindsay Kolowich is a Senior Marketing Manager at HubSpot.

3. Mention any associated brand name you might use.

Will your professional bio represent you or a business you work for? Ensure you mention the brand you associate with in your bio. If you're a freelancer, you may have a personal business name or pseudonym you advertise to your clients.

Here are a few examples:

  • Lindsay Kolowich Marketing.
  • SEO Lindsay.
  • Kolowich Consulting.
  • Content by Kolowich (what do you think ... too cheesy?).

Maybe you founded your own company and want its name to be separate from your real name. Keep it simple like this: "Lindsay Kolowich is the founder and CEO of Kolowich Consulting."

4. State your current position and what you do.

Whether you're the author of a novel or a mid-level specialist, use the following few lines of your bio to describe what you do in that position. Refrain from assuming your audience knows what your job title entails.

Make your primary responsibilities known so readers can know you and understand what you offer to your industry.

5. Include at least one professional accomplishment.

Just as a business touts its client successes through case studies, your professional bio should let your audience know what you've achieved.

What have you done for yourself — as well as for others — that makes you a valuable player in your industry?

6. Describe your values and how they inform your career.

Why do you do what you do? What might make your contribution to the market different from your colleagues? What are the values that make your business a worthwhile investment to others?

Create a professional bio that answers these questions.

7. Briefly tell your readers who you are outside of work.

Transition from describing your values in work to defining who you are outside of work. This may include:

  • Your family.
  • Your hometown.
  • Sports you play.
  • Hobbies and interests.
  • Favorite music and travel destinations.
  • Side hustles you're working on.

People like connecting with other people. The more transparent you are about who you are personally, the more likable you'll be to people reading about you.

8. Use humor or a personal story to add flavor to your professional bio.

End your professional bio on a good or, more specifically, a funny note. By leaving your audience with something quirky or unique, you can ensure they'll leave your website with a pleasant impression of you.

Following the steps above when writing your bio is important, but take your time with one section. People consume lots of information daily. So ensure your bio hooks 'em in the first line, and you won’t lose them.

(P.S. Want to boost your professional brand? Take one of HubSpot Academy's free certification courses . In just one weekend, you can add a line to your resume and bio that over 60,000 marketers covet.)

Why Good Bios Are Important for a Professional

You may think, "How many people read professional bios, anyway?"

The answer: A lot. Though there's no way to tell who is reading it, you want it catchy. Your professional bio will delight the right people coming across it on multiple platforms.

Professional bios can live on your LinkedIn profile , company website, guest posts, speaker profiles, Twitter bio , Instagram bio , and many other places.

And most importantly, it‘s the tool you can leverage most when you’re networking.

Bottom line? People will read your professional bio. Whether they remember it or it makes them care about you is a matter of how well you present yourself to your intended audience.

So, what does a top-notch professional bio look like? Let‘s review a few sample bios for professionals like you and me. Then, we’ll cover bio examples from some of the best people in the industry.

Short Sample Bios

Your bio doesn't have to be complicated. Here are five samples to glean inspiration from.

Example 1: Friendly Sample Bio

"Hey! My name is Ryan, and I'm a marketing specialist passionate about digital advertising. I have five years of experience managing various online campaigns and improving brand visibility for clients across multiple verticals. I love analyzing consumer behavior and leveraging data-driven strategies to maximize ROI. Outside work, I enjoy traveling, taking funny photos, and exploring new hiking trails."

Example 2: Mid-Career Sample Bio

"Jennifer Patel is a versatile graphic designer known for her creative approach and attention to detail. With a background in visual arts and eight years of experience, Jennifer has worked on diverse projects ranging from logo designs to website layouts. Her ability to understand and translate client needs into visually striking designs sets her apart. Jennifer finds inspiration in nature, music, and pop culture."

Example 3: Sales Sample Bio

"I'm a seasoned sales executive with a track record of exceeding targets and building strong client relationships. With a background in B2B sales, I've built a natural ability to understand customer needs and consistently exceed quota every month. I pride myself in my communication skills and strategic approaches, which have helped me thrive in highly competitive markets such as SaaS sales. Outside work, I enjoy playing basketball and volunteering at local charities."

Example 4: HR Sample Bio

"I am a dedicated human resources professional with a passion for fostering a positive workplace culture and facilitating employee development. With eight years of experience in talent acquisition and HR operations, I've played a key role in building high-performing teams. I'm known for my strong interpersonal skills and ability to create inclusive and supportive work environments. In my free time, I enjoy practicing yoga and exploring new culinary experiences."

Example 5: Software Engineer Sample Bio

"David Chang is a senior software engineer specializing in backend development. With a strong background in computer science and six years of experience, David has successfully built scalable and efficient solutions for complex technical challenges. He is well-versed in various programming languages and frameworks like C++, Java, and Ruby on Rails. In his spare time, David enjoys reading science fiction novels and playing the guitar."

Below, we've curated some of the best professional bio examples we've ever seen on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the various places you might describe yourself.

Check 'em out and use them as inspiration when crafting your own.

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Author
  • Chima Mmeje: SEO Content Writer
  • DJ Nexus: DJ
  • Lena Axelsson: Marriage & Family Therapist
  • Mark Levy: Branding Firm Founder
  • Audra Simpson: Political Anthropologist
  • Marie Mikhail: Professional Recruiter
  • Wonbo Woo: Executive Producer
  • Chris Burkard: Freelance Photographer
  • Lisa Quine: Creative Consultant
  • Nancy Twine: Hair Care Founder
  • Trinity Mouzon: Wellness Brand Founder
  • Alberto Perez: Co-Founder of Zumba Fitness
  • Ann Handley: Writer and Marketer

1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie : Author

Bio platform: personal website.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie begins her professional bio with an invitation to her roots.

In a few paragraphs, she describes when and where she was born, her family, her education, her honorary degrees, and the depth of her work, which has been translated into 30 languages and several publications.

short biography videos

She can keep readers engaged by leading with a powerful hook that aligns with her target audience’s marketing needs.

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  • There’s clarity about who Chima serves.
  • The hook is bold, catchy, and compels anyone to read further.
  • Including client results makes clients visualize what they can expect.

3. DJ Nexus : DJ

Bio platform: facebook.

This New England-based DJ has single-handedly captured the Likes of over 2,000 people in and beyond Boston, MA. And even if you don‘t listen to the type of music he produces, it’s hard not to read his compelling Facebook bio.

For instance, consider his tagline, under "About" — " Quiet during the day. QUITE LOUD at night! " DJ Nexus tells you when he works awesomely. I got goosebumps just imagining a dance club where he might play music.

short biography videos

short biography videos

short biography videos

The second is the "long version," which is even more interesting than the first. Why? It reads like a story — a compelling one, at that. In fact, it gets hilarious in some parts.

The second sentence of the bio reads: "He was frightened of public school, loved playing baseball and football, ran home to watch ape films on the 4:30 Movie, listened to The Jam and The Buzzcocks, and read magic trick books."

Here's another excerpt from the middle:

short biography videos

short biography videos

short biography videos

It's a well-put value proposition that sets her apart from the rest of the HR industry.

Marie concludes her bio with a smooth mix of professional skills, like her Spanish fluency, and personal interests, such as podcasting and Star Wars (she mentions the latter with just the right amount of humor).

  • Straight off the bat, Marie uses a story to share her experiences of how she began as a recruiter.
  • It provides a subtle pitch for readers to check out her podcast.
  • The bio exudes Maries approachable, fun, and playful personality.

8. Wonbo Woo : Executive Producer

Wonbo Woo is the executive producer of WIRED's video content and has several impressive credits to his name. What does this mean for his professional bio? He has to prioritize.

With this in mind, Wonbo opens his bio with the most eye-catching details first (if the image below is hard to read, click it to see the full copy ).

short biography videos

short biography videos

I wouldn‘t necessarily be inclined to follow Chris if his bio had simply read, "I post beautiful images." But images that inspire me to travel? Now that’s something I can get behind.

Last, he ends on a humble, sweet note: "He is happiest with his wife Breanne raising their two sons." So inject personal information into your bio — it makes you seem approachable.

  • It highlights Chris’s achievement without bragging.
  • The last sentence portrays Chris as a responsible man who loves his family.
  • The well-written bio speaks to nature lovers who like the outdoors, surfing, and more. This gives them reasons to follow Chris.

10. Lisa Quine : Creative Consultant

Bio platform: portfolio website.

Creative professionals who specialize in visual art may find it challenging to balance the writing of their bio and displaying of their portfolio. Not Lisa Quine. Lisa has an exceptional balance of her professional bio and creative work.

Throughout her bio, you'll notice the number of murals she's completed and a brief timeline of her career. This helps her paint the picture of who she is as a professional.

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The rest of her bio similarly focuses on Twine's strengths as someone who’s able to take hair care "back to basics."

short biography videos

Mouzon effectively grips the reader's attention with this introduction and then dives into some of her impressive accomplishments — including a brand now sold at Urban Outfitters and Target.

The language used throughout Mouzon's bio is authentic, real, and honest.

For instance, in the second paragraph, she admits:

"While building a brand may have looked effortless from the outside, starting a business at age 23 with no resources or funding quickly forced me to realize that early-stage entrepreneurship was anything but transparent."

short biography videos

As an avid Zumba fan, I was excited to include this one. Perez styles his LinkedIn bio as a short story, starting with his background as a hard-working teen who held three jobs by age 14.

His bio tells the fun and fascinating origin story of Zumba, in which Perez, an aerobics teacher in Florida at the time, forgot his music for class and used a Latin music cassette tape instead ... "And it was an instant hit!"

His bio continues:

"Shortly after he was connected to Alberto Periman and Alberto Aghion, and Zumba was officially created ... What started as a dream now has 15 million people in more than 200,000 locations in 186 countries who take Zumba classes every week."

short biography videos

short biography videos

There's something in there for everyone.

  • The last section of the bio shows Ann’s warm personality — "Ann lives in Boston, where she is Mom to creatures two- and four-legged."
  • Written in the third person, this bio has lots of proof (like followers), which shows Ann is a terrific marketing leader.

If you're posting a bio on a social media account or sending a quick blurb to a client, you want to keep it short and sweet while showcasing your accomplishments.

To get started, use these best practices for writing your short professional bio:

  • Introduce yourself.
  • State what you do.
  • Add key skills or areas of expertise.
  • Include a personal mission statement
  • Celebrate your wins.
  • Provide your contact information.
  • Show them your personality.

1. Introduce yourself.

Your introduction is your first impression, so always begin by telling people who you are. You may start with a greeting like, "Hello, my name is" or "Hi! Let me first introduce myself …" when sending your bio as a message.

If you’re writing a bio for an online platform, stating your name at the beginning works as well.

Leading with your name — even as a question — is important for recognition and building relationships.

2. State what you do.

Give people an idea of what you do daily and where you work. Your job title is how the people put you into context and consider whether your profession relates to their industry.

So detail your most relevant work in your short bios, like CEO, professor, and author.

Take a cue from Angela Duckworth , who specifies what she does in her LinkedIn bio:

short biography videos

3. Add key skills or areas of expertise.

If you send a bio to a client or potential employer, highlight your most valuable skills. For instance, if your expertise is in social media marketing and content creation, like Ivanka Dekoning , list these skills.

short biography videos
  • A joke. "Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once. At least that’s what I learned when I created…"
  • Mention a hobby. "I’ll be honest: for me, tennis is life — Go Nadal!"
  • A fun fact. "Every year, I watch 100 new films! I’m a cinephile and love every movie genre."
  • A few emojis related to your interests. "🎶🤖🎾🎬🎭"

Whichever way you choose to get personal, give people a glimpse into who you are as an individual.

When writing a short bio, it can be tempting to pack in as much relevant information about yourself as possible — but this isn’t the most effective approach.

Instead, focus on including the details that you and your audience care about most and leave out the fluff.

Let's dive into a few examples of short professional bios.

Short Professional Bio Examples

  • Tristen Taylor: Marketing Manager
  • Lianna Patch: Copywriter
  • Precious Oboidhe: Content Strategist and Writer
  • Rebecca Bollwitt: Writer
  • Megan Gilmore: Cookbook Author
  • Bea Dixon: Feminine Care Founder
  • Tammy Hembrow: Instagram Influencer
  • Dr. Cody: Chiropractor
  • Larry Kim: Founder
  • Dharmesh Shah: Founder and CTO
  • Lily Ugbaja: Content Strategist
  • Ian Anderson Gray: Marketer
  • Van Jones: Political Commentator, Author, and Lawyer

1. Tristen Taylor: Marketing Manager

Bio platform: blog byline.

Tristen Taylor is a Marketing Manager here at HubSpot. She's written content for HubSpot's Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service blogs; her blog author bio is one of my favorites.

What I love most about Tristen's bio is that it’s a great example of how to deliver information about yourself that is relevant to your work while also sharing fun details that audiences will find relatable.

Her bio reads:

"Building from her experience with GoCo.io and Southwest Airlines, Tristen's work has been recognized by Marketing Brew and BLACK@INBOUND. She lives in Washington, DC, attending anime conventions and painting in her free time."

short biography videos

short biography videos

Gilmore further includes a CTA link within her Instagram bio that leads followers to free, ready-to-use recipes. You might think, " Why would she do that since it discourages people from buying her book?"

But that couldn't be further from the truth.

By giving her followers the chance to try out her recipes, she's slowly turning leads into customers. After I tried a few of her Instagram recipes and loved them, I bought her book, knowing I'd like more of what she offered.

  • The bio is short and direct.
  • The CTA link includes an invitation for people to join her newsletter. Meaning, she can build her email list.

6. Bea Dixon : Feminine Care Founder

Bea Dixon, Founder and CEO of The Honey Pot Company, efficiently uses the space on her Instagram profile to highlight who she is as a well-rounded human — not just a businesswoman.

For instance, while she highlights her girl boss attitude with a tiara emoji, she equally calls attention to her fashion interests (Free People), her pets, Boss and Sadie, and her love for ramen noodles.

short biography videos

What more do you need to know?

Ian doesn't take his bio too seriously but uses every character to highlight everything about him.

He includes his skills as a marketer and podcast host, who he is outside work as a dad, and what he can help you do. His smiles also give the bio a sense of humor and realness.

short biography videos

Don't forget to share this post!

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Create a compelling professional narrative for your summary, bio, or introduction.

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  • Grades 6-12
  • School Leaders

Win 10 Summer Reading Books from ThriftBooks 📚!

55 Black History Videos Everyone Should Watch

For elementary, middle, and high school.

Black and white still image of Black teen girls, as an example of Black History Month videos.

The past several years have certainly been unprecedented ones—a pandemic, civil unrest, political turmoil, and more. Through it all, racial injustice has taken center stage. At times, we’ve all navigated uncomfortable conversations, but it’s more important than ever to dig deep and be the leaders our communities deserve. Here’s a list of Black history videos to enlighten students in every grade level.

Black History Videos for Elementary School

Black history videos for middle and high school, the legacy of dr. martin luther king jr..

“I have a dream …” Your students might know Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, but what do they know about the iconic civil rights leader who said them?

The Life of Rosa Parks

Learn about Rosa Parks, often called the “Mother of the Freedom Movement,” and what made her so brave and remarkable.

“I Am Jackie Robinson” by Brad Meltzer | Read-Aloud

Jack Roosevelt Robinson broke the baseball color line and became the first Black man to play major league baseball in the modern era.

The Story of Frederick Douglass

Are you learning about the abolitionist movement in the United States? The emancipation and subsequent freedom of Frederick Douglass is explored in this educational video.

The Breathtaking Courage of Harriet Tubman

Take a closer look at the life of escaped slave and American icon Harriet Tubman, who liberated more than 700 enslaved people using the Underground Railroad.

Muhammad Ali Biography

This video tells the story of Muhammad Ali, a legend in boxing and Black history.

Malcolm X (Civil Rights Leader)

Malcolm X was a civil rights leader whose life journey brought him from fighting for equal rights “by any means necessary” to fighting for justice peacefully.

“Teach Me About Garvey” Read-Aloud

Teach Me About Garvey shares the story of Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican political activist and founder and first president-general of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, through which he declared himself Provisional President of Africa.

Brown v. Board of Education

Brown v. Board of Education was a case brought to the Supreme Court in 1954 after Linda Brown, an African American student in Kansas, was denied access to the white-only schools near her house.

“A Picture Book of Jesse Owens” Read-Aloud

Before Usain Bolt or Tyson Gay, Bob Beamon, or Carl Lewis, Jesse Owens was perhaps the greatest and most famous athlete in track-and-field history. A Picture Book of Jesse Owens tells his inspiring story.

Black History Month Tribute to Mary Mcleod Bethune

Take a trip back in time to celebrate Mary Mcleod Bethune, an icon in education.

“Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History” Read-Aloud

This chapter of Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History tells the story of James Mercer Langston Hughes, one of the earliest innovators of jazz poetry. He is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance.

“Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History” Read-Aloud

This selection of Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History shares the journey of Ruby Bridges, the first African American child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana during the New Orleans school desegregation crisis on November 14, 1960.

Sojourner Truth—Abolitionist & Women’s Rights Pioneer

Sojourner Truth was an American abolitionist and women’s rights activist. She was born into slavery but escaped with her infant daughter and became the first Black woman, in 1828, to successfully sue a white man for a family member’s freedom.

How Nelson Mandela Fought for Equality and Freedom

Nelson Mandela is famous for his fight against apartheid in South Africa. His unique efforts for peace and reconciliation transformed his country, and he ultimately became president.

“Little People, Big Dreams: Maya Angelou” Read-Aloud

In this read-aloud of the international bestseller from the Little People, Big Dreams series, discover the incredible life of Maya Angelou, the powerful speaker, writer, and civil rights activist.

Black History Month Profile: Serena Williams

Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slam tennis singles titles, the most by any player in the Open Era, and the second-most of all time.

NASA Black History Month Astronaut Profile—Jeanette Epps

NASA astronaut Dr. Jeanette Epps talks about inspiring young girls and recalls who encouraged her to reach for the stars when she was growing up.

Calvin Peete Profile: Black History Month

Calvin Peete was the first successful Black player to not move up through the caddie ranks. Now a World Golf Hall of Famer, he won the prestigious THE PLAYERS Championship in 1985.

Can Kids Change the World?

The fight for civil rights didn’t just include adults, it included kids like 7-year-old Ayanna Najuma, who braved harsh consequences to make their communities more inclusive. To learn more about Ayanna and other Kids Who Fought for Change, visit this resource from Scholastic .

Why Do We Celebrate Black History Month? Facts for Kids

Watch as these kids explore how Black History Month was created to honor and celebrate the contributions of Black Americans to the United States.

Miss Jessica’s Black History Month Song

This Grammy-nominated song from Miss Jessica’s World is a celebration of Black excellence in American history both past and present. ​You can download the karaoke version for the classroom!

Sesame Street: Celebrate Black History Month Compilation

Celebrate Black History Month on Sesame Street ! Join Elmo, Gabrielle, and Tamir as they sing their new song “Listen, Act, Unite,” from Sesame Street ’s “Power of We” special. Then, rediscover favorites ranging from Will.I.Am’s “What I Am” to Erykah Badu’s song about friendship.

“I Am the Dream” Black History Song for Kids

Head over to Mr. Pete’s Playhouse for this new anthem for kids. “I Am the Dream” inspires kids to believe that they can be and do anything while celebrating the strong Black figures who helped pave the way for them to succeed!

“The Undefeated” | Black History Month Kids Read-Aloud

Join Ms. Mera as she reads the powerful book The Undefeated , written by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson.

What Black Lives Matter Means to Kids

Join the Kind Crew for a powerful episode with motivational speaker Nyeeam Hudson as they share how to use the power of art and honest conversations to fight racism.

Black Lives Matter: Crash Course Black American History #51

Learn about the Black Lives Matter movement and some of the major events that contributed to the rise of BLM, including the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and George Floyd, and the way that social media was used to gain support for the movement.

Dred Scott v. Sandford

Dred Scott sued his master for his freedom, and Judge Robert Taney ultimately issued two historically consequential rulings. First, African Americans were not citizens and had no right to sue in court. Second, Congress did not have the constitutional authority to ban slavery from the states.

Jesse Jackson: Crash Course Black American History #44

Reverend Jesse Jackson is a civil rights activist and icon who began his long career working with Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s and continues to contribute to the movement for Black lives today.

Emmett Till—American Freedom Stories

On August 24, 1955, a white cashier lied and claimed that 14-year-old Emmett Till flirted with her. Four days later, two white men tortured and murdered the teenager. His murder galvanized the emerging Civil Rights Movement. This is one of the most moving Black history videos for students.

Harriet Tubman: Biography

Harriet Tubman was an incredibly brave woman who risked her own life to free hundreds of slaves from plantations via the Underground Railroad.

Shirley Chisholm: Crash Course Black American History #43

In 1972, Shirley Chisholm ran for president of the United States of America. While she didn’t win, she did have an incredible career in politics, holding a congressional seat in the New York delegation for decades.

The Electrifying Speeches of Sojourner Truth

Get to know the story of Sojourner Truth, a woman born into slavery who became known as a powerful orator and outspoken activist.

Marcus Garvey: Biography

Marcus Garvey was an orator for the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, and although at times controversial, he is considered a national hero in Jamaica and inspired the Rastafari movement.

Brown v. Board of Education in PBS’s The Supreme Court

This video covers the Supreme Court’s historical rejection of segregation in southern schools. This is one of the most relevant Black history videos for students on this list!

Women and the Black Power Movement: Crash Course Black American History #40

Women have always been a powerful (and largely underappreciated) force in the movement for Black equality in the United States. Learn more about how they contributed to several organizations and the Black Arts Movement.

NASA Black History Month Employee Profile—Matthew Bailey

Matthew Bailey is the operations manager for the National Transonic Facility Complex at NASA’s Langley Research Center. The facility is currently testing a model of the Space Launch System, the rocket that will send humans to the moon by 2024.

Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas: Crash Course Black American History #46

Revisit the Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Clarence Thomas during which Anita Hill testified that Thomas, her former coworker, had sexually harassed her when they worked at the Department of Education. Thomas’s nomination was ultimately confirmed by a margin of 52-48, making him the second Black American appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Oprah Winfrey—American Media Proprietor and Talk Show Host

Watch a mini-biography of Oprah Winfrey, who ascended from an impoverished childhood to become one of the most powerful and influential celebrities in the world.

Rap and Hip Hop: Crash Course Black American History #47

Learn more about the origins of rap and hip-hop and the cultural significance of artists including Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan, the Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, N.W.A., Queen Latifah, and Missy Elliott.

Black History Month Profile: Gloria Walton

Gloria Walton is the CEO and president of The Solutions Project, a national nonprofit that helps fund organizations looking to create climate solutions in communities of color.

Moments in History: Remembering Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall was one of the country’s greatest jurists and civil rights advocates, but he was also a gifted storyteller.

The Tuskegee Experiment: Crash Course Black American History #29

This video covers a dark and horrifying chapter in American history, the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, which was carried out by the U.S. Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1932 to 1972.

Civil Rights and the 1950s

Take a trip back to America in the 1950s and the early days of the Civil Rights Movement.

The Harlem Renaissance: Crash Course Theater

In the 1920s, there was a blossoming of all kinds of art made by Black people in Harlem. Authors like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston were writing plays, and Black theater companies were drawing larger audiences than ever before.

The Black Panther Party: Crash Course Black American History #39

Learn about the Black Panthers, a relatively small, relatively political party that made it their mission to expand the rights of Black Americans and had a major impact on U.S. history.

Quincy Jones Biography: Life and Career of the Producer and Composer

This short documentary celebrates the legendary life and career of top American jazz musician, composer, arranger, record producer, and entrepreneur Quincy Jones.

Equal Protection: The 14th Amendment

Spark a discussion on the 14th Amendment with a focus on the “equal protection” clause and how it relates to civil rights.

Nelson Mandela: Civil Rights Activist & President of South Africa

Nelson Mandela was a nonviolent anti-apartheid activist, politician, and philanthropist who became South Africa’s first black president.

Maya Angelou—Civil Rights Activist & Author

Maya Angelou was an American author, actress, screenwriter, dancer, poet, and civil rights activist best known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings .

Beyoncé Is the Highest-Grossing R&B Artist

In honor of Black History Month, Billboard featured Beyoncé, highlighting some of her most incredible achievements.

Hurricane Katrina: Crash Course Black American History #49

Crash Course’s Clint Smith discusses his experience as a teen in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Black residents were hit the hardest with structural racism playing a catastrophic role.

Serena Williams and Misogynoir: The Meaning of Sexism and Racism Towards Black Women

Author and SUNY Stony Brook professor Crystal M. Fleming explains what misogynoir means and why Serena Williams calling out sexism at the 2018 U.S. Open Final was a critical moment for Black women.

Barack Obama: Crash Course Black American History #50

Barack Obama was the first Black man elected president of the United States, in 2008. Learn more about his early life, political career, presidential campaign, and legislative milestones.

Black Lives Matter Movement

Watch Global Citizens share their thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement. This is one of the best Black history videos for students right now.

Plus, check out Black History Month Activities for February and Beyond .

Want more video suggestions be sure to subscribe to our newsletters so you can get our latest picks..

Looking for lesson ideas for February and beyond? This list of Black history videos for students is perfect for all grade levels.

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Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist minister and major leader of the Civil Rights Movement. After his assassination, he was memorialized by Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

martin luther king jr

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In Focus: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Days after his 1968 assassination , a campaign for a holiday in King’s honor began. U.S. Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan first proposed a bill on April 8, 1968, but the first vote on the legislation didn’t happen until 1979. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King , led the lobbying effort to drum up public support. Fifteen years after its introduction, the bill finally became law.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan ’s signature created Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service as a federal holiday. It’s celebrated annually on the third Monday in January. The only national day of service, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first celebrated in 1986. The first time all 50 states recognized the holiday was in 2000.

See Martin Luther King Jr.’s life depicted onscreen in the 2018 documentary I Am MLK Jr. or the Oscar-winning movie Selma .

Quick Facts

Where did martin luther king jr. go to school, philosophy of nonviolence, civil rights accomplishments, "i have a dream" and other famous speeches, wife and kids, fbi surveillance, later activism, assassination, who was martin luther king jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist minister and civil rights activist who had a seismic impact on race relations in the United States, beginning in the mid-1950s. Among his many efforts, King headed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Through his nonviolent activism and inspirational speeches , he played a pivotal role in ending legal segregation of Black Americans, as well as the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 . King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, among several other honors. He was assassinated by James Earl Ray and died on April 4, 1968, at age 39. King continues to be remembered as one of the most influential and inspirational Black leaders in history.

FULL NAME: Martin Luther King Jr. BIRTHDAY: January 15, 1929 DIED: April 4, 1968 BIRTHPLACE: Atlanta, Georgia SPOUSE: Coretta Scott King (1953-1968) CHILDREN: Yolanda, Martin III, Dexter, and Bernice King ASTROLOGICAL SIGN: Capricorn

Martin Luther King Jr. was born as Michael Luther King Jr. in Atlanta. His birthday was January 15, 1929.

martin luther king sr and alberta king sit and look right, they were formal attire, martin sr wears glasses, alberta wears a hat with netting and a veil

His parents were Michael Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King. The Williams and King families had roots in rural Georgia. Martin’s maternal grandfather, A.D. Williams, was a rural minister for years and then moved to Atlanta in 1893. He took over the small, struggling Ebenezer Baptist Church with around 13 members and made it into a forceful congregation. He married Jennie Celeste Parks, and they had one child who survived, Alberta.

Michael Sr. came from a family of sharecroppers in a poor farming community. He married Alberta in 1926 after an eight-year courtship. The newlyweds moved to A.D.’s home in Atlanta. Michael stepped in as pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church upon the death of his father-in-law in 1931. He, too, became a successful minister and adopted the name Martin Luther King Sr. in honor of the German Protestant religious leader Martin Luther . In due time, Michael Jr. followed his father’s lead and adopt the name himself to become Martin Luther King Jr.

A middle child, Martin Jr. had an older sister, Willie, and a younger brother, Alfred. The King children grew up in a secure and loving environment. Martin Sr. was more the disciplinarian, while Alberta’s gentleness easily balanced out their father’s strict hand.

Although they undoubtedly tried, Martin Jr.’s parents couldn’t shield him completely from racism. His father fought against racial prejudice, not just because his race suffered, but also because he considered racism and segregation to be an affront to God’s will. He strongly discouraged any sense of class superiority in his children, which left a lasting impression on Martin Jr.

Growing up in Atlanta, King entered public school at age 5. In May 1936, he was baptized, but the event made little impression on him.

In May 1941, King was 12 years old when his grandmother Jennie died of a heart attack. The event was traumatic for the boy, more so because he was out watching a parade against his parents’ wishes when she died. Distraught at the news, young King jumped from a second-story window at the family home, allegedly attempting suicide.

King attended Booker T. Washington High School, where he was said to be a precocious student. He skipped both the ninth and eleventh grades and, at age 15, entered Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1944. He was a popular student, especially with his female classmates, but largely unmotivated, floating through his first two years.

Influenced by his experiences with racism, King began planting the seeds for a future as a social activist early in his time at Morehouse. “I was at the point where I was deeply interested in political matters and social ills,” he recalled in The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr . “I could envision myself playing a part in breaking down the legal barriers to Negro rights.”

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

At the time, King felt that the best way to serve that purpose was as a lawyer or a doctor. Although his family was deeply involved in the church and worship, King questioned religion in general and felt uncomfortable with overly emotional displays of religious worship. This discomfort had continued through much of his adolescence, initially leading him to decide against entering the ministry, much to his father’s dismay.

But in his junior year, King took a Bible class, renewed his faith, and began to envision a career in the ministry. In the fall of his senior year, he told his father of his decision, and he was ordained at Ebenezer Baptist Church in February 1948.

Later that year, King earned a sociology degree from Morehouse College and began attended the liberal Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. He thrived in all his studies, was elected student body president, and was valedictorian of his class in 1951. He also earned a fellowship for graduate study.

Even though King was following his father’s footsteps, he rebelled against Martin Sr.’s more conservative influence by drinking beer and playing pool while at college. He became romantically involved with a white woman and went through a difficult time before he could break off the relationship.

During his last year in seminary, King came under the guidance of Morehouse College President Benjamin E. Mays, who influenced King’s spiritual development. Mays was an outspoken advocate for racial equality and encouraged King to view Christianity as a potential force for social change.

martin luther king jr looks at the camera while standing outside in a pastor robe over a collared shirt and tie, he holds papers in both hands in front of him, behind him is a street scene and a large white building

After being accepted at several colleges for his doctoral study, King enrolled at Boston University. In 1954, while still working on his dissertation, King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church of Montgomery, Alabama. He completed his doctorate and earned his degree in 1955 at age 25.

Decades after King’s death, in the late 1980s, researchers at Stanford University’s King Papers Project began to note similarities between passages of King’s doctoral dissertation and those of another student’s work. A committee of scholars appointed by Boston University determined that King was guilty of plagiarism in 1991, though it also recommended against the revocation of his degree.

preview for Martin Luther King Jr. - Call to Activism

First exposed to the concept of nonviolent resistance while reading Henry David Thoreau ’s On Civil Disobedience at Morehouse, King later discovered a powerful exemplar of the method’s possibilities through his research into the life of Mahatma Gandhi . Fellow civil rights activist Bayard Rustin , who had also studied Gandhi’s teachings, became one of King’s associates in the 1950s and counseled him to dedicate himself to the principles of nonviolence.

As explained in his autobiography , King previously felt that the peaceful teachings of Jesus applied mainly to individual relationships, not large-scale confrontations. But he came to realize: “Love for Gandhi was a potent instrument for social and collective transformation. It was in this Gandhian emphasis on love and nonviolence that I discovered the method for social reform that I had been seeking.”

It led to the formation of King’s six principles of nonviolence :

  • Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
  • Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.
  • Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people.
  • Nonviolence holds that suffering for a just cause can educate and transform.
  • Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.
  • Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.

In the years to come, King also frequently cited the “ Beloved Community ”—a world in which a shared spirit of compassion brings an end to the evils of racism, poverty, inequality, and violence—as the end goal of his activist efforts.

martin luther king jr, waving and smiling, stands in a suit on a platform, crowds of people look on from the background, the washington monument and reflection pool are in the background too, two cameramen stand on the right

Led by his religious convictions and philosophy of nonviolence, King became one of the most prominent figures of the Civil Rights Movement . He was a founding member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and played key roles in several major demonstrations that transformed society. This included the Montgomery Bus Boycott that integrated Alabama’s public transit, the Greensboro Sit-In movement that desegregated lunch counters across the South, the March on Washington that led to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the Selma-to-Montgomery marches in Alabama that culminated in the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

King’s efforts earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 when he was 35.

Montgomery Bus Boycott

King’s first leadership role within the Civil Rights Movement was during the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955–1956. The 381-day protest integrated the Alabama city’s public transit in one of the largest and most successful mass movements against racial segregation in history.

The effort began on December 1, 1955, when 42-year-old Rosa Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus to go home after an exhausting day at work. She sat in the first row of the “colored” section in the middle of the bus. As the bus traveled its route, all the seats in the white section filled up, then several more white passengers boarded the bus.

The bus driver noted that there were several white men standing and demanded that Parks and several other African Americans give up their seats. Three other Black passengers reluctantly gave up their places, but Parks remained seated.

The driver asked her again to give up her seat, and again she refused. Parks was arrested and booked for violating the Montgomery City Code. At her trial a week later, in a 30-minute hearing, Parks was found guilty and fined $10 and assessed $4 court fee.

The local NAACP chapter had been looking to challenge Montgomery’s segregated bus policy and had almost made 15-year-old Claudette Colvin the face of the campaign months earlier. She similarly refused to give up her bus seat to a white man on March 2, 1955, but after organizers learned Colvin was pregnant, they feared it would scandalize the deeply religious Black community and make Colvin, along with the group’s efforts, less credible in the eyes of sympathetic white people. Parks’ experience of discrimination provided another opportunity.

On the night Parks was arrested, E.D. Nixon , head of the local NAACP chapter, met with King and other local civil rights leaders to plan a Montgomery Bus Boycott. King was elected to lead the boycott because he was young, well-trained, and had solid family connections and professional standing. He was also new to the community and had few enemies, so organizers felt he would have strong credibility with the Black community.

In his first speech as the group’s president, King declared:

“We have no alternative but to protest. For many years, we have shown an amazing patience. We have sometimes given our white brothers the feeling that we liked the way we were being treated. But we come here tonight to be saved from that patience that makes us patient with anything less than freedom and justice.”

King’s skillful rhetoric put new energy into the civil rights struggle in Alabama. The Montgomery Bus Boycott began December 5, 1955, and for more than a year, the local Black community walked to work, coordinated ride sharing, and faced harassment, violence, and intimidation. Both King’s and Nixon’s homes were attacked.

martin luther king jr stands outside in a suit and hat, behind him is a city bus with a pepsi cola ad on the front

In addition to the boycott, members of the Black community took legal action against the city ordinance that outlined the segregated transit system. They argued it was unconstitutional based on the U.S. Supreme Court ’s “separate is never equal” decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Several lower courts agreed, and the nation’s Supreme Court upheld the ruling in a November 13, 1956, decision that also ruled the state of Alabama’s bus segregation laws were unconstitutional.

After the legal defeats and large financial losses, the city of Montgomery lifted the law that mandated segregated public transportation. The boycott ended on December 20, 1956.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Flush with victory, African American civil rights leaders recognized the need for a national organization to help coordinate their efforts. In January 1957, King, Ralph Abernathy , and 60 ministers and civil rights activists founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to harness the moral authority and organizing power of Black churches. The SCLC helped conduct nonviolent protests to promote civil rights reform.

King’s participation in the organization gave him a base of operation throughout the South, as well as a national platform. The SCLC felt the best place to start to give African Americans a voice was to enfranchise them in the voting process. In February 1958, the SCLC sponsored more than 20 mass meetings in key southern cities to register Black voters. King met with religious and civil rights leaders and lectured all over the country on race-related issues.

Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story

Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story

That September, King survived an attempt on his life when a woman with mental illness stabbed him in the chest as he signed copies of his book Stride Toward Freedom in a New York City department store. Saved by quick medical attention, King expressed sympathy for his assailant’s condition in the aftermath .

In 1959, with the help of the American Friends Service Committee, King visited Gandhi ’s birthplace in India. The trip affected him in a profound way, increasing his commitment to America’s civil rights struggle.

Greensboro Sit-In

By 1960, King was gaining national exposure. He returned to Atlanta to become co-pastor with his father at Ebenezer Baptist Church but also continued his civil rights efforts. His next activist campaign was the student-led Greensboro Sit-In movement.

In February 1960, a group of Black students in Greensboro, North Carolina , began sitting at racially segregated lunch counters in the city’s stores. When asked to leave or sit in the “colored” section, they just remained seated, subjecting themselves to verbal and sometimes physical abuse.

The movement quickly gained traction in several other cities. That April, the SCLC held a conference at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, with local sit-in leaders. King encouraged students to continue to use nonviolent methods during their protests. Out of this meeting, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) formed and, for a time, worked closely with the SCLC. By August 1960, the sit-ins had successfully ended segregation at lunch counters in 27 southern cities. But the movement wasn’t done yet.

On October 19, 1960, King and 75 students entered a local department store and requested lunch-counter service but were denied. When they refused to leave the counter area, King and 36 others were arrested. Realizing the incident would hurt the city’s reputation, Atlanta’s mayor negotiated a truce, and charges were eventually dropped.

Soon after, King was imprisoned for violating his probation on a traffic conviction. The news of his imprisonment entered the 1960 presidential campaign when candidate John F. Kennedy made a phone call to Martin’s wife, Coretta Scott King . Kennedy expressed his concern over the harsh treatment Martin received for the traffic ticket, and political pressure was quickly set in motion. King was soon released.

Letter from Birmingham Jail

In the spring of 1963, King organized a demonstration in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. With entire families in attendance, city police turned dogs and fire hoses on demonstrators. King was jailed, along with large numbers of his supporters.

The event drew nationwide attention. However, King was personally criticized by Black and white clergy alike for taking risks and endangering the children who attended the demonstration.

In his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail , King eloquently spelled out his theory of nonviolence: “Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community, which has constantly refused to negotiate, is forced to confront the issue.”

1963 March on Washington

By the end of the Birmingham campaign, King and his supporters were making plans for a massive demonstration on the nation’s capital composed of multiple organizations, all asking for peaceful change. The demonstration was the brainchild of labor leader A. Philip Randolph and King’s one-time mentor Bayard Rustin .

On August 28, 1963, the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom drew an estimated 250,000 people in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial. It remains one of the largest peaceful demonstrations in American history. During the demonstration, King delivered his famed “I Have a Dream” speech .

The rising tide of civil rights agitation that had culminated in the March on Washington produced a strong effect on public opinion. Many people in cities not experiencing racial tension began to question the nation’s Jim Crow laws and the near-century of second-class treatment of African American citizens since the end of slavery. This resulted in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 , authorizing the federal government to enforce desegregation of public accommodations and outlawing discrimination in publicly owned facilities.

Selma March

a group of many people including martin luther king jr and coretta scott king walk arm in arm on a city stree, houses and the tops of american flags can been seen in the background

Continuing to focus on voting rights, King, the SCLC, SNCC, and local organizers planned to march peacefully from Selma, Alabama, to the state’s capital, Montgomery.

Led by John Lewis and Hosea Williams , demonstrators set out on March 7, 1965. But the Selma march quickly turned violent as police with nightsticks and tear gas met the demonstrators as they tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. The attack was televised, broadcasting the horrifying images of marchers being bloodied and severely injured to a wide audience. Of the 600 demonstrators, 58 were hospitalized in a day that became known as “ Bloody Sunday .” King, however, was spared because he was in Atlanta.

Not to be deterred, activists attempted the Selma-to-Montgomery march again. This time, King made sure he was part of it. Because a federal judge had issued a temporary restraining order on another march, a different approach was taken.

On March 9, 1965, a procession of 2,500 marchers, both Black and white, set out once again to cross the Pettus Bridge and confronted barricades and state troopers. Instead of forcing a confrontation, King led his followers to kneel in prayer, then they turned back. This became known as “Turnaround Tuesday.”

Alabama Governor George Wallace continued to try to prevent another march until President Lyndon B. Johnson pledged his support and ordered U.S. Army troops and the Alabama National Guard to protect the protestors.

On March 21, 1965, approximately 2,000 people began a march from Selma to Montgomery. On March 25, the number of marchers, which had grown to an estimated 25,000 gathered in front of the state capitol where King delivered a televised speech. Five months after the historic peaceful protest, President Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act .

martin luther king jr speaks into several microphones in front of a lectern, he wears a suit and tie with a button on his lapel, many people watch from behind him

Along with his “I Have a Dream” and “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speeches, King delivered several acclaimed addresses over the course of his life in the public eye.

“I Have A Dream” Speech

Date: august 28, 1963.

King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech during the 1963 March on Washington. Standing at the Lincoln Memorial, he emphasized his belief that someday all men could be brothers to the 250,000-strong crowd.

Notable Quote: “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

“Give Us the Ballot” Speech

Date: may 17, 1957.

Six years before he told the world of his dream, King stood at the same Lincoln Memorial steps as the final speaker of the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom. Dismayed by the ongoing obstacles to registering Black voters, King urged leaders from various backgrounds—Republican and Democrat, Black and white—to work together in the name of justice.

Notable Quote: “Give us the ballot, and we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights. Give us the ballot, and we will no longer plead to the federal government for passage of an anti-lynching law... Give us the ballot, and we will transform the salient misdeeds of bloodthirsty mobs into the calculated good deeds of orderly citizens.”

Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech

Date: december 10, 1964.

Speaking at the University of Oslo in Norway, King pondered why he was receiving the Nobel Prize when the battle for racial justice was far from over, before acknowledging that it was in recognition of the power of nonviolent resistance. He then compared the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement to the ground crew at an airport who do the unheralded-yet-necessary work to keep planes running on schedule.

Notable Quote: “I think Alfred Nobel would know what I mean when I say that I accept this award in the spirit of a curator of some precious heirloom which he holds in trust for its true owners—all those to whom beauty is truth and truth, beauty—and in whose eyes the beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold.”

“Our God is Marching On (How Long? Not Long)” Speech

Date: march 25, 1965.

At the end of the bitterly fought Selma-to-Montgomery march, King addressed a crowd of 25,000 supporters from the Alabama State Capitol. Offering a brief history lesson on the roots of segregation, King emphasized that there would be no stopping the effort to secure full voting rights, while suggesting a more expansive agenda to come with a call to march on poverty.

Notable Quote: “I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because ‘truth crushed to earth will rise again.’ How long? Not long, because ‘no lie can live forever.’... How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

“Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” Speech

Date: april 4, 1967.

One year before his assassination, King delivered a controversial sermon at New York City’s Riverside Church in which he condemned the Vietnam War. Explaining why his conscience had forced him to speak up, King expressed concern for the poor American soldiers pressed into conflict thousands of miles from home, while pointedly faulting the U.S. government’s role in escalating the war.

Notable Quote: “We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”

“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” Speech

Date: april 3, 1968.

The well-known orator delivered his final speech the day before he died at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee. King reflected on major moments of progress in history and his own life, in addition to encouraging the city’s striking sanitation workers.

Notable Quote: “I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.”

yolanda king, dexter king, coretta scott king, martin luther king jr, and martin luther king iii sit on a sofa and smile for a photo, they are in a room with patterned wallpaper and a window covered by blinds, a painting hangs on the wall and a side table is on the right with a table lamp

While working on his doctorate at Boston University, King met Coretta Scott , an aspiring singer and musician at the New England Conservatory school in Boston. They were married on June 18, 1953, and had four children—two daughters and two sons—over the next decade. Their oldest, Yolanda, was born in 1955, followed by sons Martin Luther King III in 1957 and Dexter in 1961. The couple welcomed Bernice King in 1963.

Although she accepted the responsibility to raise the children while King travelled the country, Coretta opened their home to organizational meetings and served as an advisor and sounding board for her husband. “I am convinced that if I had not had a wife with the fortitude, strength, and calmness of Corrie, I could not have withstood the ordeals and tensions surrounding the movement,” King wrote in his autobiography.

His lengthy absences became a way of life for their children, but Martin III remembered his father returning from the road to join the kids playing in the yard or bring them to the local YMCA for swimming. King also fostered discussions at mealtimes to make sure everyone understood the important issues he was seeking to resolve.

Leery of accumulating wealth as a high-profile figure, King insisted his family live off his salary as a pastor. However, he was known to splurge on good suits and fine dining, while contrasting his serious public image with a lively sense of humor among friends and family.

Due to his relationships with alleged Communists, King became a target of FBI surveillance and, from late 1963 until his death, a campaign to discredit the civil rights activist. While FBI wiretaps failed to produce evidence of Communist sympathies, they captured the civil rights leader’s engagement in extramarital dalliances. This led to the infamous “suicide letter” of 1964, later confirmed to be from the FBI and authorized by then-Director J. Edgar Hoover , which urged King to kill himself if he wanted to prevent news of his affairs from going public.

In 2019, historian David Garrow wrote of explosive new allegations against King following his review of recently released FBI documents. Among the discoveries was a memo suggesting that King had encouraged the rape of a parishioner in a hotel room, as well as evidence that he might have fathered a daughter with a mistress. Other historians questioned the veracity of the documentation, especially given the FBI’s known attempts to damage King’s reputation. The original surveillance tapes regarding these allegations are under judicial seal until 2027.

From late 1965 through 1967, King expanded his civil rights efforts into other larger American cities, including Chicago and Los Angeles. But he met with increasing criticism and public challenges from young Black power leaders. King’s patient, non-violent approach and appeal to white middle-class citizens alienated many Black militants who considered his methods too weak, too late, and ineffective.

To address this criticism, King began making a link between discrimination and poverty, and he began to speak out against the Vietnam War . He felt America’s involvement in Vietnam was politically untenable and the government’s conduct in the war was discriminatory to the poor. He sought to broaden his base by forming a multiracial coalition to address the economic and unemployment problems of all disadvantaged people. To that end, plans were in the works for another march on Washington to highlight the Poor People’s Campaign, a movement intended to pressure the government into improving living and working conditions for the economically disadvantaged.

By 1968, the years of demonstrations and confrontations were beginning to wear on King. He had grown tired of marches, going to jail, and living under the constant threat of death. He was becoming discouraged at the slow progress of civil rights in America and the increasing criticism from other African American leaders.

In the spring of 1968, a labor strike by Memphis, Tennessee, sanitation workers drew King to one last crusade. On April 3, 1968, he gave his final and what proved to be an eerily prophetic speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” in which he told supporters, “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now… I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

a crowd of people surround a horse drawn cart pulling a casket topped with flowers

While standing on a balcony outside his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, Martin Luther King Jr. was killed by a sniper’s bullet on April 4, 1968. King died at age 39. The shocking assassination sparked riots and demonstrations in more than 100 cities across the country.

The shooter was James Earl Ray , a malcontent drifter and former convict. He initially escaped authorities but was apprehended after a two-month international manhunt. In 1969, Ray pleaded guilty to assassinating King and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

The identity of King’s assassin has been the source of some controversy. Ray recanted his confession shortly after he was sentenced, and King’s son Dexter publicly defended Ray’s innocence after meeting with the convicted gunman in 1997. Another complicating factor is the 1993 confession of tavern owner Loyd Jowers, who said he contracted a different hit man to kill King. In June 2000, the U.S. Justice Department released a report that dismissed the alternative theories of King’s death. Ray died in prison on April 23, 1998.

martin luther king jr memorial in washington dc

King’s life had a seismic impact on race relations in the United States. Years after his death, he is the most widely known Black leader of his era.

His life and work have been honored with a national holiday, schools and public buildings named after him, and a memorial on Independence Mall in Washington, D.C.

Over the years, extensive archival studies have led to a more balanced and comprehensive assessment of his life, portraying him as a complex figure: flawed, fallible, and limited in his control over the mass movements with which he was associated, yet a visionary leader who was deeply committed to achieving social justice through nonviolent means.

  • But we come here tonight to be saved from that patience that makes us patient with anything less than freedom and justice.
  • There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over and men are no longer willing to be plunged into an abyss of injustice where they experience the bleakness of corroding despair.
  • Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.
  • The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
  • Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
  • Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
  • The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.
  • We must all learn to live together as brothers, or we will all perish together as fools.
  • Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.
  • I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
  • The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason but with no morals.
  • I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.
  • Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.
  • A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.
  • At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.
  • Right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
  • In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
  • Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
  • Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
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Brief Bio of Martin Luther King Jr.

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Alice Munro, Canadian author who mastered the short story, dead at 92

A lice Munro, a Canadian author who was revered worldwide as master of the short story and one of few women to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, has died at the age of 92.

Her publisher said she died at her home in Port Hope, Ont., on Monday evening.

"Alice Munro is a national treasure — a writer of enormous depth, empathy, and humanity whose work is read, admired, and cherished by readers throughout Canada and around the world," read a statement from Kristin Cochrane, CEO of McClelland & Stewart, which is owned by Penguin Random House Canada.

"Alice's writing inspired countless writers too, and her work leaves an indelible mark on our literary landscape."

Munro wrote more than a dozen acclaimed collections over the course of her career, seamlessly blending ordinary people with extraordinary themes — womanhood, restlessness, aging — to develop complex characters with the nuance, depth and clarity most writers can only find in the wider confines of a novel.

In honouring her with the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013, the Swedish Academy hailed Munro as "master of the contemporary short story," affirming what her peers, critics and readers had proclaimed for years.

"Alice Munro was one of the world's greatest storytellers. Her short stories about life, friendship, and human connection left an indelible mark on readers. A proud Canadian, she leaves behind a remarkable legacy," read a statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday.

"On behalf of the Government of Canada, I offer my condolences to Mrs. Munro's family, friends, and many fans. Her creativity, compassion, and gift for writing will remain an inspiration for generations."

Early years in small-town Ontario

Munro was born Alice Laidlaw in Wingham, Ont., on July 10, 1931. The eldest child of Robert and Anne Laidlaw, she was raised on what she described as a " collapsing enterprise of a fox and mink farm " in the throes of the Great Depression.

An avid reader by 11, Munro was drawn to the work of literary legends Lucy Maud Montgomery and Charles Dickens. She began "making up stories in her mind" after discovering the works of Alfred Tennyson, according to her official Nobel biography.

As the eldest child, Munro took on most of the domestic roles in the household after her mother, who had been a schoolteacher, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Though only 12 or 13, Munro said the work gave her "a sense of responsibility, purpose, being important. It didn't bother me at all."

Despite the family challenges, she began writing short stories when she was a teenager. She graduated valedictorian of her high school class in 1949 with a two-year scholarship to the University of Western Ontario in London.

Her first published story, The Dimensions of a Shadow , appeared in Western's undergraduate creative writing magazine, Folio, in the spring of 1950 . Two more pieces followed, with all three receiving praise for their exploration of the lives of girls and women.

It was there that she met and began dating honours history student James Munro. She also noticed Gerald Fremlin, an older student and another contributor to Folio.  Laidlaw and Munro married at her parents' home in Wingham on Dec. 29, 1951. The following year, James gave his wife a typewriter as a 21st birthday present.

The Munros had three daughters — Sheila, Catherine and Jenny — in the early years of their marriage. (Catherine died the same day she was born.) Munro left university when the scholarship money ran out and the family eventually settled in West Vancouver's Dundarave neighbourhood.

The monotony of the girls' early years was reflected in 1978's The Moons of Jupiter , which described "wives yawning, napping, visiting, drinking coffee, and folding diapers; husbands coming home at night from the city across the water."

"We had become a cartoon couple, more middle-aged in our twenties than we would be in middle age," she wrote.

Devotion to the short story

Munro later said she devoted her career to the short story medium — regarded by many as notoriously difficult and by others as inferior to the novel — because the demands of marriage and motherhood didn't allow her the time to complete longer works.

In 1963, the Munros moved to Victoria and opened Munro's Books on Yates Street. Munro credits the bookstore, which made a "marvellous" $175 on its first day and is still flourishing, as helping her overcome the writer's block she experienced from her mid-20s to her mid-30s: "The writing ceased to be this all-important thing that I had to prove myself with. The pressure came off."

"Just as she would shape Munro's, Munro's would shape Alice," the shop wrote in a tribute to its founder. "Jim enjoyed recounting his wife's urge to write something better than the 'crappy books' that sold alongside the store's more palatable titles."

Munro's first collection of stories, Dance of the Happy Shades , was published in 1968 — two years after she gave birth to her fourth daughter, Andrea. The anthology drew attention from other Canadian literary giants such as Margaret Atwood and earned her comparisons to the famed Russian short story writer Anton Chekhov.

After her marriage ended in 1972, Munro moved back to Ontario. She reconnected with Fremlin — whom she'd shared pages with in Folio back at Western — after he deduced from an interview of hers on CBC Radio in 1974 that she was back in Ontario. The pair married and moved to Clinton, Ont., not far from her hometown in Wingham.

Fremlin, a retired geographer and cartographer, was the one to use the office in the couple's home. Munro opted to write at a tiny desk facing a window overlooking the driveway from the corner of their dining room, according to a 2013 profile . 

International recognition came after the New Yorker bought its first Munro story, Royal Beatings , in 1977. Munro nurtured a decades-long publishing relationship with the magazine, cementing the Canadian author's status with an elite group of contributors who defined the American publication's celebrated love affair with short fiction .

An unapologetic revisionist, Munro was known to keep reworking stories even after her publisher had sent them back without asking for any changes.

In one instance , she personally paid financial penalties in order to add an entirely new story and change the voice from first to third person after the printing deadline for Who Do You Think You Are? — a collection of short stories that went on to win Munro the Governor General's Award in 1978.

Munro won a litany of literary honours over the next decades of her career, including two more Governor General's Awards, two Giller Prizes and the Man Booker International Prize. She also received an honorary degree from her alma mater, Western University — the "only such honour" she ever accepted, the school has said .

In mid-2013, shortly after the death of her second husband, Munro told the National Post that she was content with her career and "probably not going to write anymore."

She won the Nobel Prize in Literature that October, becoming the 13th woman to receive the honour.

In an interview with CBC after her Nobel win, Munro said: "I think my stories have gotten around quite remarkably for short stories, and I would really hope that this would make people see the short story as an important art, not just something that you played around with until you'd got a novel written."

Munro's last collection of work, Dear Life , was published in 2012. She introduced the final four stories in its pages, called Finale , as "autobiographical in feeling", if only partly.

"I believe they are the first and last — and the closest — things I have to say about my own life."

Canadian author Alice Munro, shown at her daughter Sheila's home during an interview in Victoria in December 2013, died Tuesday at the age of 92. She was beloved for her short stories and celebrated the world over.


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