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The late civil rights pioneer Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was born this day in 1929. He was a pastor, crusader and the youngest man ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

He enrolled in Morehouse College at age 15 and found his calling. Before graduating with a sociology degree, he was ordained a minister. In 1955, King earned a PhD in theology from Boston University.

King became the pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. At a time when racial segregation was still the law in Southern states, he became involved in local civil rights efforts that became a national movement.

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On August 28th, 1963, a quarter-million people marched on Washington, D.C. to demand civil rights heard his “I Have a Dream” speech. “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident — that all men are created equal.”

Two decades after that momentous speech, the third Monday in January was made a federal holiday commemorating his birthday. Since the first observance on January 20th, 1986, it has been an occasion for people to remember King’s life and re-dedicate themselves to achieving that dream.

In 1964, at age 35, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1968, King went to Memphis to support a strike by sanitation workers, most of whom were black. On April 4th, he was assassinated while standing on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel. His death sparked riots across America. The Lorraine has since been converted into a national civil rights museum.

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