Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) was a pivotal figure in the civil rights movement who became famous in the 1950s and 1960s for his advocacy of nonviolent, direct action in the struggle against racism. King was a child prodigy who entered Morehouse college at 15 and was ordained a minister of the Baptist Church at 19. As pastor of the Dexter Avenue Church in Montgomery, Alabama, King secured a reputation as an eloquent and committed opponent of intolerance. He was elected President of the Montgomery Improvement Association and was responsible for the successful Montgomery bus boycott of 1955 to 1956.
King resigned from the Dexter Avenue Church in 1959 in order to found and direct the activities of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization devoted to challenging racism with nonviolent civil disobedience. In 1963, he organized a march on Washington to support proposed civil rights legislation. There he delivered his famous “I Had a Dream&rdqu