Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. He was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1954 through 1968. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs.
He helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
On October 14, 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through non violent resistance. He was planning a national walk in Washington, D.C., to be called the Poor People’s Campaign, when he was assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee.
King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medals of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a holiday in numerous cities and states beginning in 1971, and as a U.S. Federal Holiday in 1986. Hundreds of Streets in the U.S. have been renamed in his honor, and a county in Washington State was also rededicated for him. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was dedicated in 2011.