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As we approach the golden anniversary of that fateful day the world lost Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., here are 10 iconic pictures to underscore the civil rights icon’s brave determination to pave the way for each of us to enjoy a freer existence than he did.

10 Iconic Photos To Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Amazing Civil Rights Legacy 50 Years Later  was originally published on

1. We miss you, Dr. King

We miss you, Dr. King

The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was an attempt to silence the freedom fighter’s powerful messages pushing for racial, economic, social and political justice, but in 2018 they ring louder than ever. In the 50 years since that shameful moment in American history, a lot of what King stood for has been realized – but there’s still plenty of work to be done.

2. “…mother, father and child is the main educational agency of mankind.”

“…mother, father and child is the main educational agency of mankind.”

Dr. King, first and foremost, was a family man. He and his wife, Coretta Scott King, had four children, who they put above everything else to secure their prosperous futures. So it was only right that he not only mentioned them in his famous “I Have A Dream Speech,” he immortalized them in one of the address’ most memorable passages:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” King said during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963.

3. The March to Montgomery

The March to Montgomery

Putting his family and quest for social justice first came with consequences, as America was clearly not ready for such a powerful leader of color with such a strong message of resistance.

Pictured: Dr. King and other civil rights icons, including his wife, Coretta Scott King (next to him), led 25,000 people marching in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery on March 25, 1965, to push for voting rights for Black people. King would later be arrested for his civil disobedience, one of the many jailings that ultimately led Black people being allowed to participate in political elections.

4. A King in the White House

A King in the White House

The federal government deemed Dr. King’s overall message for equality a threat to society, resulting in President Lyndon B. Johnson ordering the federal surveillance of any organizing efforts. The government is still practicing these tactics against groups that have picked up King’s civil rights mantle today.

Pictured: President Lyndon B. Johnson with King Jr at the White House in December 1963. As head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, King was one of the civil rights leaders who consulted with the then-new president.

5. Birds of a feather…

Birds of a feather…

Dr. King’s push for civil rights for Black people attracted an untold number of followers, including celebrities, a factor that helped spread his message even wider.

Pictured: King poses is flanked by (from left too right) Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Asa Philip Randolph and Sidney Poitier, circa 1960.

6. King at home

King at home

Ever the scholar, Dr. King, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College and his Ph. D in theology from Boston University, preached about education just as much as he did about civil rights and social equality.

Pictured: Dr. King, who once said “intelligence plus character … is the true goal of education,” is shown surrounded by books in his home office in Montgomery, Alabama in March 1956.

7. King pushed hard against segregation

King pushed hard against segregation

Desegregation was a major part of Dr. King’s overall message, and he staged a number of protests and delivered a number of addresses underscoring that plight. During a speech in London on Dec. 4, 1964, he spoke of the damaging mental effects segregation caused.

“While living with the conditions of slavery and then, later, segregation, many Negroes lost faith in themselves. Many came to feel that perhaps they were less than human. Many came to feel that they were inferior,” King said just days before he would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. “This, it seems to me, is the greatest tragedy of slavery, the greatest tragedy of segregation, not merely what it does to the individual physically, but what it does to one psychologically.”

8. “I Have A Dream”

“I Have A Dream”

One of King’s most iconic moments was leading the March on Washington, which included his timeless “I Have A Dream” speech. It was one of the many opportunities he used to push for economic equality in a message that resonated far beyond the estimated 250,000 people in attendance that August day in 1963.

9. April 4, 1968

April 4, 1968

Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where he was supporting a strike by sanitation workers there. He was just 39 years old.

Pictured: King’s widow, Loretta Scott King, is shown leaving her home to attend the private funeral services for her husband on April 9, 1968.

10. A monument fit for a King

A monument fit for a King

Dr. King’s legacy lives on in many ways, but a recent addition to Washington, D.C.’s lineup of monuments includes a massive statue dedicated to the civil rights icon. If there was any question about King’s place in history, the 450-foot structure answers them and then some. The monument opened in August 28, 2011, exactly 48 years after the March on Washington.