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Martin Luther King, Jr. was the most famous leader of the Civil Rights Movement that was active in the United States in the late 1950s and the 1960s.  King came to prominence in 1955 and 1956 and remained as an important figure in American politics until he was assassinated in 1968.

King became well-known on the national stage when he helped to lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 and 1956.  He had already been involved in civil rights work when the boycott started.  He was then selected as leader of the group that kept the boycott going.  In the early 1960s, King became even more famous as he led a nonviolent protest movement against various kinds of injustices that were being done to African Americans in the South.  These protests were responsible for some of the iconic images of the 1960s, such as the image of nonviolent protestors being attacked by police dogs or sprayed with high-pressure fire hoses.  King’s career peaked with the 1964 “March on Washington.”  There, he gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.  This helped to bring about equal legal rights for African Americans.

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