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Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the most important political figures of the 1960s in the United States. He was the most important leader of the Civil Rights Movement that changed America during those years. King came to national prominence during the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1957 and 1958. His ideas about nonviolent civil disobedience allowed the Civil Rights Movement to garner the support of large numbers of people around the country. His most visible moment was the “I Have a Dream” speech that he delivered in Washington, D.C. in 1963. His charisma and the moral force of his strategy eventually allowed the movement to succeed in getting two of its major goals. These were the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. After this, King turned to issues of economic justice and to opposition to the Vietnam War, causes which were much less well-received than his push for rights. King was assassinated in 1968. His death led to major riots in a number of American cities.
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