Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. made history as a defining leader of the Civil Rights movement who preached a message of nonviolent resistance.
His hand in organizing a number of significant protests, marches and speeches helped bring about landmark legislation — most notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — and his message continues to resonate today.
On April 4, 1968, King was fatally shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. King was only 39 at the time of his death. James Earl Ray was arrested in London in June 1968, and the next year he confessed to the crime and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.
King’s birthday, Jan. 15, was officially recognized as a national holiday in 1986. In 2011, he became the first African-American to receive a monument on the National Mall in Washington.
As the nation pauses to reflect on the life, death, and legacy of the towering historical figure, these lesser-known pictures depict intimate and iconic moments of Dr. King.
Camille Fine is a trending visual producer on USA TODAY’s NOW team.
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