Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy.--Martin Luther King, Jr., The Measures of Man, 1959.
Martin Luther King, Jr. used his strong personality and eloquent oratory to lead the civil rights movement in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. A Baptist minister, Dr. King began his national civil rights activities in 1955 with the successful boycott of the segregated bus system in Montgomery, Alabama.
On August 28, 1963, the massive "March on Washington" culminated in over 200,000 Americans of all races gathering at the Lincoln Memorial to hear Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" message.
In 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, and an international committee honored Dr. King with the Nobel Peace Prize.
The world lost a tireless advocate of justice when an assassin's bullet claimed Dr. King's life in April 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, as he was helping negotiate better wages and working conditions for the city's sanitation workers.