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January 15, 2020

“I Have a Dream” – 30 Powerful Photos of Martin Luther King Jr.

Any number of historic moments in the civil-rights struggle have been used to identify Martin Luther King, Jr. — prime mover of the Montgomery bus boycott, keynote speaker at the March on Washington, youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate. But in retrospect, single events are less important than the fact that King, and his policy of nonviolent protest, was the dominant force in the civil-rights movement during its decade of greatest achievement, from 1957 to 1968.

On January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. is born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of a Baptist minister. King received a doctorate degree in theology and in 1955 helped organized the first major protest of the African-American civil rights movement: the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott. Influenced by Mohandas Gandhi, he advocated civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance to segregation in the South. The peaceful protests he led throughout the American South were often met with violence, but King and his followers persisted, and the movement gained momentum.

A powerful orator, King appealed to Christian and American ideals and won growing support from the federal government and Northern whites. In 1963, Bayard Rustin and A. Philip Randolph led the massive March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom; the event’s grand finale was King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Two hundred and fifty thousand people gathered outside the Lincoln Memorial to hear the stirring speech.

In 1964, the civil rights movement achieved two of its greatest successes: the ratification of the 24th Amendment, which abolished the poll tax, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited racial discrimination in employment and education and outlawed racial segregation in public facilities. Later that year, King became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. In the late 1960s, King openly criticized U.S. involvement in Vietnam and turned his efforts to winning economic rights for poor Americans. He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is welcomed with a kiss by his wife Coretta after leaving court in Montgomery, Ala., March 22, 1956. King was found guilty of conspiracy to boycott city buses in a campaign to desegregate the bus system, but a judge suspended his $500 fine pending appeal. (Gene Herrick / The Associated Press)

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks to the media on May 20, 1956, about his arrest for leading the Montgomery bus boycott. (The Associated Press)

The Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, left, and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. walk away from the Montgomery County Courthouse in Montgomery, Ala., in this Feb. 24, 1956, file photo. (Gene Harrick/ AP)

The Rev. Martin Luther King is arrested in September 1958 on a charge of loitering (later changed to “failure to obey an officer”) in the vicinity of the Montgomery Recorder’s Court. He was released on $100 bond. (Charles Moore/ AP)

New York Gov. Averell Harriman talks with Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King in Harlem Hospital where King was recovering from a stab wound. He was attacked by an African American woman while promoting his book – “Stride Toward Freedom” (Harper), his recollections of the Montgomery bus boycott – in a Harlem bookstore. Sept. 23, 1958. (Seattle Times file)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is embraced by his wife Coretta Scott King during a news conference at Harlem Hospital in New York, in this Sept. 30, 1958 file photo, where he was recovering from a stab wound following an attack by a woman. At left is his mother, Alberta Williams King. (Tony Camerano / The Associated Press)

President Eisenhower meets with civil rights leaders on June 23, 1958. From left to right: the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., E. Frederic Morrow, Eisenhower, and A. Philip Randolph, William Rogers, and Roy Wilkins. (The Associated Press)

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is arrested and taken to jail through a picket line in front of an Atlanta department store where people staged a sit-in demonstration. Oct. 20, 1960. The trespassing charges were dropped the following week. All jailed demonstrators were released except Dr. King, who was held on a charge of violating a probated sentence in a traffic arrest case. He is transferred to the Dekalb County Jail in Decatur, Ga., and was then transferred to the Reidsville State Prison. He was released from the Reidsville prison on a $2 million bond. (The Associated Press)

Officers escort the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. from jail to county courthouse in Atlanta for a hearing. Oct. 25, 1960. (The Associated Press)

Freedom Riders have breakfast at a lunch counter in the bus station in Montgomery shortly before leaving for Jackson, Miss. and New Orleans. It was the first time the eating facilities at the station had been integrated. May 24,1961. The first group of Freedom Riders, with the intent of integrating interstate buses, left Washington, D.C. by Greyhound bus in early May 1961. (The Associated Press)

Freedom riders prepare to resume their trip through the South. May 24, 1961. The Freedom Riders were arrested in Jackson, Miss., and spent 40 to 60 days in jail. (Seattle Times file)

Marshals escort James Meredith to class at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi, on October 1, 1962. Meredith was the first African American student accepted to the University of Mississippi. (The Associated Press)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, addresses marchers during his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Aug. 28,1963. (The Associated Press)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. acknowledges the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial gathered for his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech during the March on Washington, D.C. Aug. 28, 1963. (The Associated Press)

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. looks at the glass door of his rented beach cottage in St. Augustine, Fla., that was shot into on June 5, 1964. No one was in the house at the time of the shooting. King was in St. Augustine to meet with other integration leaders. (The Associated Press)

A Marion, Ala., church audience applauds the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Feb. 2, 1965. (The Associated Press)

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at a Montgomery voter rally held in a church. Feb. 9, 1965. (The Associated Press)

The King family is pictured at home in Atlanta: from left, Martin Luther King III, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, Dexter, 4, and Yolanda, 9. June 20, 1965. (The Associated Press)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addresses a public gathering in the riot-torn areas of Los Angeles on Aug. 18, 1965. King attended many meetings in an attempt to solve the problems connected with the uprising. At left is King’s aide, Bayard Rustin. (The Associated Press)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his wife, Coretta King, lead off the final lap to the state capitol at Montgomery, Al. on March 25, 1965. Thousands of civil rights marchers joined in the walk, which began in Selma, Al. on March 21, demanding voter registration rights for blacks. Rev. D. F. Reese, of Selma, is at right. (The Associated Press)

A rare moment of leisure for Dr. King: playing pool in February 1966. (The Associated Press)

Mississippi patrolmen shove Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other marchers during the 220-mile “March Against Fear” from Memphis, Tenn. to Jackson, Miss. June 8, 1966. (The Associated Press)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ducks down and holds his head after being struck by a rock as he led 600 demonstrators on a civil rights march through the Gage Park neighborhood of Chicago southwest side on August 6, 1966. (The Associated Press)

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gestures and shouts to his congregation in Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on April 30, 1967. He urged America to repent and abandon what he called its “tragic, reckless adventure in Vietnam.” (The Associated Press)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tells reporters he is “disenchanted” with President Johnson’s Vietnam policies and may endorse either Sen. Robert Kennedy or Sen. Eugene McCarthy for the 1968 Democratic presidential nomination. Undated. (AP Photo/Anthony Camerano)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. Ralph Abernathy, right, lead a march on behalf of striking Memphis sanitation workers March 28, 1968. The dignity of the march soon gave way to disorder as a group of about 200 youths began breaking windows and looting. King agonized over what had happened. (Sam Melhorn / The Associated Press)

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stands with other civil rights leaders on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., on April 3, 1968, a day before he was assassinated at approximately the same place. From left are Hosea Williams, Jesse Jackson, King, and Ralph Abernathy. (The Associated Press)

Coretta Scott King and her four children view the body of her husband, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., in Atlanta on April 7, 1968. (The Associated Press)

The family of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. walk in the funeral procession of the slain civil rights leader, in Atlanta, in this April 9, 1968 file photo. From left: daughter Yolanda, 12; King’s brother A.D. King; daughter Bernice, 5; widow Coretta Scott King; Rev. Ralph Abernathy; sons Dexter, 7, and Martin Luther King III, 10. (Don Goan Charles / The Associated Press)

Undated photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Flip Schulke)


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