Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nearly 50 years later, we take a look at the legacy of social justice, unity and radicalism Dr. King left behind. 

Essence Jan, 15, 2017

1 of 25 Stephen Somerstein

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?" Today as we mark the 49th anniversary of his death we take a look back at his life and legacy.

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Martin Luther King leaving Harlem Hospital with wife Coretta Scott King in 1958.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. looks out from behind the bars of his jail cell in 1962 shortly after he and other integration demonstrators were arrested on trespassing charges at a local motel.

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Civil Rights marchers pass the U.S. Capitol on the Mall during the March on Washington on their way to hear Dr. King speak.

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Martin Luther King Jr.

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Dr. King ends his famous “I Have a Dream” speech with the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” in front of hundreds of thousands.

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The March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial
Original caption: This photo, made from the top of the Lincoln Memorial, shows how the March on Washington participants jammed the area in front of the Memorial and on either side of the Reflecting Pool. Demonstrators are massed at the pool all the way back to the Washington Monument.

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Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers a sermon to the congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers a sermon from the pulpit at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

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Malcolm X and Martin Luther King meet briefly in the halls of the U.S. Capitol, during a Senate filibuster on the Voting Rights Act.

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Coretta Scott King and her children celebrate the announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King.

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Martin Luther King Jr. talks with his daughter Yolanda on a swing in their backyard.

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Martin Luther King Jr. holds his young son Dexter on his lap at home in Atlanta.

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Martin Luther King Jr. eats Sunday dinner with his wife Coretta and their young children at home in Atlanta.

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Dr. King is an Alpha Phi Alpha brother. The fraternity has a scholarship in his name.

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Martin Luther King Jr. received the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize with his wife in Oslo, Norway.

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The chairman of the Nobel committee said King was, “The first to make the message of brotherly love a reality in the course of his struggle.” Dr. King donated his prize money, estimated to be $55,000, to the Movement. In his acceptance speech King said, “I accept this prize on behalf of all men who love peace and brotherhood. I say I come as a trustee, for in the depths of my heart I am aware that this prize is much more than an honor to me personally.”

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Martin Luther King Jr. was presented with an award in New York after winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Undated photograph.

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"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." -Martin Luther King Jr.

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“This is always the danger and the tragedy of segregation, it not only harms one physically, but it scars the soul and distorts the personality.”—Morgan State College 1958

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“We want our rights,” Dr. King strongly emphasized to a crowd outside an all-white college in 1965.

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Martin Luther King Jr. and wife, Coretta Scott King, march with other Civil Rights activists in Selma, Alabama.

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A Press conference was held after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated outside Lorraine Hotel where he was staying.

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Coretta Scott King and family view Dr. King’s body in state, in Atlanta.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial


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