King, Martin Luther

born January 15, 1929, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. died April 4, 1968, Memphis, Tennessee

American clergyman and civil-rights leader. His philosophy of nonviolent resistance led to his arrest on numerous occasions in the 1950s and 60s. His campaigns had mixed success, but the protest he led in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963 brought him worldwide attention. He spearheaded the August, 1963, March on Washington, which brought more than 200,000 people together. In 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. King's leadership in the civil-rights movement was challenged in the mid-1960s as others grew more militant. His interests, however, widened from civil rights to include criticism of the Vietnam war and a deeper concern over poverty. His plans for a Poor People's March to Washington were interrupted (1968) for a trip to Memphis, Tennessee, in support of striking sanitation workers. On April 4, 1968, he was shot and killed as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.

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