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3. Martin Luther King Jr.: Civil Rights Leader
Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the
famous Americans ever. He was a pastor, and
humanitarian, but is known mostly for being a
rights activist. King was the leader of the
-American Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 60s.
use of non-violent protest to affect social change
based on his Christian beliefs. King was born
King, but his father changed his name in
of the German reformer, Martin Luther.
the most divisive era in American history. The
and the southern culture in the United States
nothing to do with social change during the
. Segregation laws were in place that prohibited black
from eating at the same restaurants as whites,
to ride in the same section on public
with white Americans. King led the famous 1955
Bus Boycott in reaction to Rosa Park's refusal
surrender her bus seat to a white passenger
was required by law in Montgomery, Alabama at
King started his activism while serving as
Baptist minister for the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.
believed strongly in the Christian belief that loving
neighbor as yourself, which was a philosophy he
throughout his civil rights years. He was also
great speaker. His "I Have a Dream" speech
regarded as one of the most famous oratory
American history. In it, he speaks of how
dream is for white and black Americans to
together hand in hand as brothers. The speech
declared how it was his dream for all
to be judged, not by the color of
skin, but by the content of their character.
October 14, 1964, King was awarded the Nobel
Prize for his involvement in combating racial inequality
the United States. He was assassinated in April,
, in Memphis, Tennessee at the age of 39.