Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968), was
one of the main leaders of the American civil rights movement. King
was a Baptist minister, one of the few leadership roles available
to black men at the time. He became a civil rights activist early
in his career. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-1956) and
helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1957),
serving as its first president. His efforts led to the 1963 March
on Washington, where King delivered his "I Have a Dream"speech.
Here he raised public consciousness of the civil rights movement
and established himself as one of the greatest orators in U.S.
history. In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the
Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end segregation and racial
discrimination through civil disobedience and other non-violent
King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.
He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by
President Jimmy Carter in 1977. Martin Luther King Day was
established as a national holiday in the United States in 1986. In
2004, King was posthumously awarded a Congressional Gold Medal.