Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is best known for his leadership in the American Civil Rights Movement, specifically the March on Washington, his "I Have a Dream" speech and the March for Voting Rights. His advocacy for non-violent activism earned him great respect during the tumultuous era of segregation.Continue Reading
In 1963, King spearheaded a coalition of civil rights groups in a campaign to end segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, considered at the time the most segregated city in the nation. Demonstrations resulted in police brutality which outraged many Americans. Later that year, King helped organize and lead the March for Jobs and Freedom, known popularly as the March on Washington. The march drew more than 250,000 people to the National Mall, where King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. This speech was credited for galvanizing the nation in the passage of the Civil Rights Act the following year.
At 35 years old, in 1964, King became the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. His acceptance speech is widely regarded as the most powerful address ever delivered at the awards ceremony.
In 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which ensured that African-Americans were allowed to vote in all cities and states. Many credited King's March for Voting Rights from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama with being the catalyst for the legislation.Learn more about US History