Today, people across America and around the world will commemorate the life of Martin Luther King Jr., the Baptist minister and social activist who played a key role in the American civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. The driving force behind watershed events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the March on Washington, King helped bring about such landmark legislation as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday honoring Dr. King, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day was observed for the first time three years later.
Find out more about Dr. King’s legacy, explore his life in photos and delve deeper into the history of the civil rights movement to find out how King and other activists used nonviolent protest, civil disobedience and legal action to end segregation and pursue equality for all Americans.
Check out some exclusive MLK videos below:
Get the full story behind the March on Washington.
Find out how Dr. King’s birthday became a national holiday.
Watch footage of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march.
Martin Luther King III discusses his father’s legacy.