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7 Essential Facts About the Life and Influence of Martin Luther King Jr.

Learn more about the civil rights icon.

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  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

He did not always want to be a pastor.

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  • King with his mother and civil rights advocate Henry Elkins at Ebenezer Baptist Church. 

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

He was only 26 when he began his career as an activist. 

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  • Rosa Parks being fingerprinted after her arrest.

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

He survived an early assassination attempt.

His “Letter from Birmingham Jail” became an iconic text of the Civil Rights Movement. 

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  • King being arrested in 1958.

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

One of his most important advisors was nearly written out of history. 

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  • Bayard Rustin (left) with Cleveland Robinson, Chairman of the Administrative Committee of the March on Washington.

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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  • The March on Washington.

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

When he won the Nobel Peace Prize, King was the youngest person to have ever received the award.

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  • King watches on as President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. 

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

At the end of his life, King's activism was expanding into new areas. 

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  • The Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington, D.C.

    Photo Credit: National Park Service