A Baptist minister, King, became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, serving as its first President.
King's efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King deliv-ered his "I Have a Dream" speech. There, he raised public consciousness of the civil rights movement and established himself as one of the greatest ora-tors in US history.
In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial recrimination through civil disobedience and other non-violent means. By the time of his death in 1968, he had refocused his efforts on ending poverty and opposing the Viet-nam War, both from a religious perspective.
King was assassinated on April 4th, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was posthumously awarded the President's Medal of Freedom in 1977 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.