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Martin Luther King Jr.: His life in black and white

A Baptist minister, King led the civil rights movement by peacefully pursuing a vision of racial justice. He was assassinated in 1968.

37 PHOTOS

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks to an overflow crowd during a meeting at the Holt Street Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955.

During the civil rights movement, King directly confronted and exposed the ills of racism, and led a movement that pressured the American government to end legalized segregation. He spent the last year of his life condemning what he called the "triple evils" of racism, poverty and war.

Gene Herrick / AP
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King, accompanied by the Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy, center, is booked in Montgomery on Feb. 23, 1956. The civil rights leaders were arrested on charges of leading a bus boycott in the city.

Gene Herrick / AP
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King's wife, Coretta, welcomes him after he leaves court in Montgomery on March 22, 1956. King was found guilty of conspiracy to boycott city buses as part of a desegregation campaign, but a judge suspended his $500 fine pending appeal.

Gene Herrick / AP
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King delivers a sermon on May 13, 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama.

Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
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King speaks at the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom on the National Mall in Washington on May 17, 1957.

Hulton Archive via Getty Images
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King at his home in Montgomery, Alabama in May 1956.

Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images
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King and the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, left, were among the first to ride the bus after the Supreme Court's integration order went into effect on Dec. 21, 1956. Both were active in the boycott of segregated buses in Montgomery, Alabama.

Harold Valentine / AP
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A makeup artist puts a powder on King before a taping of NBC's "Meet the Press" in Washington on Aug. 13, 1957.

Henry Burroughs / AP
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Dr. W.G. Anderson, center, and King sing farewell after they were released from jail in Albany, Georgia, on Aug. 31, 1962. They were among 75 people, mostly clergymen, arrested for holding a prayer vigil in front of City Hall to protest segregation.

Horace Cort / AP
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King and his wife, Coretta, sit with three of their children in their Atlanta home, on March 17, 1963. From left: Martin Luther King III, 5, Dexter Scott, 2, and Yolanda Denise, 7.

AP
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King waves from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963. 

Hulton Archive via Getty Images
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Crowds fill the Lincoln Memorial for King's "I Have a Dream" speech on Aug. 28, 1963.

AP
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Leaders of the March on Washington stand with Sen. Everett Dirksen, R-Ill., pointing, during a visit to the Capitol on Aug. 28, 1963. From left: Whitney Young, National Urban League; King, Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Roy Wilkins, NAACP, behind King; Walter Reuther, United Auto Workers president; Dirksen and John Lewis, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

AP
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King, in 1964.

Reg Lancaster / Express via Getty Images
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King rides in the back of a police car as he is returned to jail in St. Augustine, Florida., after testifying before a grand jury investigating racial unrest in the city on June 12, 1964.

AP
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King wipes away sweat during a news conference where he announced future plans for the integration move in St. Augustine, Florida, on June 17, 1964. "It's hotter in more ways than one in St. Augustine," he said.

AP
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President Lyndon B. Johnson hands a pen to King after signing the landmark Civil Rights Act in the White House on July 2, 1964. The bill outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

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King speaks with a family on their porch as he campaigns to get African-Americans to register to vote and support his Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. King arrived on July 21, 1964, in Greenwood for the beginning of a five-day tour of Mississippi towns.

JAB / AP
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King and his wife, Coretta, arrive at the University of Oslo Festival Hall on Dec. 11, 1964 to deliver his acceptance address after winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

AP
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King leads a group of ministers to a courthouse during a voter registration drive in Selma, Alabama, on Feb. 15, 1965.

AP
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King leads a procession during the funeral for Jimmy Lee Jackson in Marion, Alabama, on March 1, 1965. In November 2010, a former Alabama state trooper, James Bonard Fowler, pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the shooting of Jackson during a civil rights demonstration.

AP
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Registrar Carl Golson shakes a finger at King during meeting at the courthouse in Hayneyville, Alabama, on March 1, 1965. King inquired about voter registration procedures but Golson told him that if he was not a prospective voter in Lowndes county, "It's none of your business." King visited two nearby counties after leading a voter registration drive in Selma.

Horace Cort / AP
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King joins hands with other African American leaders singing "We Shall Overcome" at a church rally in Selma, Alabama, on March 9, 1965.

AP
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Civil rights demonstrators march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River in Selma on March 21, 1965. The march is credited with helping build momentum for passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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King leads a group at the start of the march to Montgomery to press for voter registration rights for African Americans, on March 21, 1965.

AP
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King speaks in Eutaw, Alabama in June 1965.

AP
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King calls aides during a stopover in Miami on Aug. 14, 1965. King was traveling to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for a speaking engagement, and said he deplored recent rioting in Los Angeles.

Jim Bourdier / AP
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King and his wife, Coretta, second from left, join pickets during a tour of an Atlanta slum on Feb. 1, 1966. The women on the right were protesting the arrest of Hector Black, a volunteer charged with trespassing while handing out blankets in the area.

AP
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King with President Lyndon B. Johnson at the White House in March 18, 1966.

National Archives via Getty Images
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King shakes hands with a group after addressing a political rally in Lisman, Alabama on April 30, 1966. Lisman was one of King's nine stops in the Alabama Black Belt in an effort to unify the African American vote ahead of the Alabama primary election.

Jack Thornell / AP
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King is pushed back by Mississippi patrolmen during the 220-mile 'March Against Fear' from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi, on June 8, 1966.

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Dr. Benjamin Spock, center left, and King lead a march against the Vietnam War, in Chicago on March 25, 1967. Spock was co-chairman of the National Committee for Sane Nuclear Policy.

AP
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U.S. Marshal Cato Ellis serves King and his aides with a temporary restraining order barring them from leading another march without court approval in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 3, 1968. The order was aimed at stopping a march set for April 8 in support of city sanitation workers.

Barney Sellers / Memphis Commercial Appeal
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King on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 3, 1968, the day before he was assassinated.

James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. He died in 1998.

Charles Kelly / AP
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The King family at his funeral in Atlanta on April 9, 1968. From left: King's daughter Yolanda, 12; his brother, A.D. King; daughter Bernice, 5; widow, Coretta Scott King; the Rev. Ralph Abernathy; and sons Dexter, 7, and Martin Luther King III, 10.

The New York Times via AP
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Coretta Scott King and her four children view Martin Luther King's body in Atlanta on April 7, 1968. 

AP
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Coretta Scott King and her daughter Bernice at the funeral.

Moneta J. Sleet, Jr. / AP
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