Considered by many to be the most important civil rights leader in American history, Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader in several events, including the March on Washington and Montgomery Bus Boycott, that encouraged passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He was known for his non-violent methods of drawing attention to racial injustice.Continue Reading
A Baptist minister and social activist, King took inspiration from peaceful figures such as Mahatma Gandhi. According to the Nobel Prize organization, it was his use of peaceful measures that landed him a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. At age 35, he was the youngest person to ever receive the prize. Upon learning of the honor, he announced that he would donate the more than $50,000 in prize money to the civil rights movement.
King did not let adversity prevent him from pursuing civil rights. According to the History Channel, during the year-long Montgomery Bus Boycott, he was threatened with bodily harm and arrested, and his home was bombed. His life ended in violence on April 4, 1968. While standing on the balcony of a motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he came to lead a protest march supporting the city's striking garbage workers, he was assassinated.Learn more about US History