Martin Luther King Jr., an African-American Baptist minister and social activist from Georgia, stood for peace, equality and justice, especially for African-Americans and the socially disadvantaged. He played an integral role in the American civil rights movement and is considered to be the driving force that brought about such legislation as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Martin Luther King Jr. organized the first major African-American nonviolent protest in 1955, when he orchestrated the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott was carried out in protest of a policy of racial segregation in Montgomery's public transit system. The boycott was a success, and King and the American Civil Rights Movement were propelled into the national spotlight.
In 1963, King helped to organize the historic March on Washington, D.C., at which he delivered his famous speech, "I Have a Dream." The march attracted 250,000 nonviolent participants, 80 percent of whom were African-American. The march is largely credited with bringing about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize at 35, becoming the youngest recipient in history. He was assassinated on the evening of April 4, 1968.