Martin Luther King Jr. was responsible for leading the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. He delivered a speech in 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial called "I Have a Dream" in which he stated he wanted to end racism in the U.S.
King was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Ga. His father was a rural minister. King Jr. became a Baptist minister and worked hard to bring equality to the U.S. in a non-violent way. On April 4, 1968, he was assassinated by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tenn. King's life has been honored with a number of schools, buildings and a national holiday named after him.
Martin Luther King was a pastor who became a civil rights leader early in his career due to racial tensions in the South. In 1954, he organized boycotts in Alabama after Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat on a bus to a white person. A few years later, King established the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, with which he coordinated civil rights activity across the South. Success was not immediate with the group, as segregation was deep-rooted in the South.
King was never deterred from his goal and continued to fight for civil rights. He organized a huge demonstration in Birmingham, Ala., during which he was jailed along with other demonstrators. From his jail cell, King wrote his famous Birmingham speech, which explained his ideas regarding nonviolent action. The Birmingham incident paved the way for a national event, which took place in 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial. The event was monumental, as thousands attended and King presented his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, a defining moment in the civil rights movement.