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Martin Luther King

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He began his career as a Baptist preacher, but went on to lead a sweeping grassroots effort to end racial discrimination, known as the civil rights movement. Along the way,Martin Luther King Junior made history, and emerged as one of the most influential leaders of the twentieth century. Before the civil rights movement began, segregation policies known as "Jim Crow Laws" kept African-Americans in a separate and generally inferior world from whites. African-Americans went to separate public schools, ate in separate restaurants, and even had to use separate public rest rooms. They had to sit in the back of buses, and give up their seats to any white people standing. But in 1954, Jim Crow suffered a stunning defeat. The Supreme Court declared that separate schools for blacks and whites were inherently unequal, in a case called "Brown verses Board of Education". The following year, in Montgomery Alabama, a tailor's assistant named Rose Parks refused to give up her bus seat for a white passenger. Parks was arrested, but Martin Luther King organized a full-fledged boycottof the Montgomery City Bus System. Thirteen months later, the bus system integrated. The Montgomery boycott inspired more efforts to end segregation. In 1963, King and other civil rights leaders organized the March on Washington. More than 200,000 people came to the nation's capitol to demand equality for the blacks, and to urge Congress to pass pending civil rights laws. Standing at the base of the Lincoln Memorial, King spoke the words, "I have a dream today", describing his hope for a future in which all men would be brothers. The civil rights movement was changing the nation. In 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, which made racial discrimination in public places illegal. The same year, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. But the movement he helped to lead lived on, inspiring other groups, such as Hispanics, women, and the disabled, to fight for equal treatment under the law, and completing King's legacy of greater social justice for all Americans.

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 34 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: National Geographic
Director: National Geographic
Views: 172
Posted by: greenbo on Apr 24, 2010

Highlights of the turbulent life of the civil rights leader

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