Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Selma, Alabama March, 1965 | Photograph by Bruce Davidson, image and original data provided by Magnum Photos | ©Bruce Davidson / Magnum Photos

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was a pivotal figure in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Among his many achievements, King led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott that ended racial segregation on all Montgomery public buses; planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of African-Americans as voters; and directed the 1963 march on Washington of 250,000 people, to whom he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, calling for racial equality and an end to discrimination.

King was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963, and the following year he became the youngest person (at the age of thirty-five) to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and discrimination through nonviolent means. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee as he readied to lead a protest march in sympathy with the city’s striking garbage workers.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, near King’s birthday, January 15.

A search for Martin Luther King leads to hundreds of images in the Artstor Digital Library, most notably dozens of photographs of King from Magnum Photos, including marches and speeches in Georgia, Alabama, Maryland, and Washington, DC. You will also find images of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington from the Contemporary Architecture, Urban Design, and Public Art (ART on FILE Collection).