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Dr. Martin Luther King – 10 of His Greatest Moments in History

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not only a prominent American civil rights activist, but also a social reformer and an author. He is often referred to as the human rights icon since he called for equal rights for all without resorting to violence or aggression. His lifetime of service is forever ingrained in the history books of our country.

Martin Luther King Day has been a Federal holiday since January 20, 1986. Before that day, Congressman John Conyers, an African-American Democrat from Michigan, spearheaded the movement to establish a Martin Luther King day. In 1970, he convinced New York’s governor and New York City’s mayor to commemorate King’s birthday, a move that the city of St. Louis emulated in 1971. Other localities followed, but it was not until the 1980s that Congress acted on Conyers’ bill. By this time, the congressman had enlisted the help of popular singer Stevie Wonder, who released the song “Happy Birthday” for King in 1981. Mr. Conyers is now the first African-American to be named as “Dean of the Congress” as he is now the longest-serving member of the United States House of Representatives.

Today we present 10 of King’s most remarkable moments in the history of the United States.

  1. In 1954 at the young age of 25, Dr. King became the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

  2. Montgomery Bus Boycott: Beginning on December 1, 1955, the same day Rosa Parks was arrested, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

  3. Southern Christian Leadership Conference: Dr. King served as the first president of SCLC in 1957 and under his direction the organization peacefully helped coordinate mass protest campaigns, voter registration drives and fought for economic equality among Blacks.

  4. March on Washington: In 1963, Dr. King helped to lead over 200,000 people down Constitution and Independence Avenue to the grounds of the Lincoln Monument for a peaceful demonstration that fought for the Civil Rights of African Americans.

  5. Time Magazine’s Man of the Year: In 1963, Time magazine recognized the efforts of Dr. King as a fearless leader who fought to bring equality to America and named him their Man of the Year.

  6. Nobel Peace Prize: In 1964, Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his dynamic leadership and nonviolent approach to Civil Rights.

  7. American Liberties Medallion: in 1965 King was awarded the American Liberties Medallion by the American Jewish Committee for his “exceptional advancement of the principles of human liberty”

  8. Voting Rights Act: in 1965 this act restored and protected the right to vote.

  9. Best Spoken Word Album: in 1971, King was posthumously awarded the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for his Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam.

  10. Widely Admired People: King was second in Gallup’s List of Widely Admired People in the 20th century.

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Ivan Rodriguez

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