Nearly 50 years after his death, Martin Luther King, Jr. still stands as one of the most symbolic, most loved and most tragic of figures of the Civil Rights Movement.
In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, take a look back at his life and some of his greatest accomplishments.
Son of a Preacher Man
Martin Luther King, Jr. was born Jan. 15, 1929 in Atlanta, GA to Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King. He studied theology, eventually earning a Ph.D and following in his father's footsteps, becoming a preacher. Eventually, the two Reverend Kings would co-pastor Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta until the younger King's death in 1968.
In this photo, Martin Luther King, Jr. looks on as his father delivers a sermon.
A Family of Kings
Martin Luther King, Jr., married Coretta Scott on June 18, 1953. The couple would go on to have four children. After his death, the King family, led by Coretta, took on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s mission of promoting racial equality.
In this photo from June 1963, King leads a march of mourners in a funeral procession for fellow civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Known for his marches and peaceful protests, King was still arrested 30 times, according to The King Center.
A Fitting Farewell
Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech to a crowd of civil rights activists gathered at the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963.
The moment, and the phrase, "I have a dream...," have gone down in history as the pinnacle moment of his career.
Famous for his non-violent protests, Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded The Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
At age 35, he was the youngest man, the second American, and the third black man to be so honored, according to The King Center.
In this photo, dated Aug. 5, 1965, Martin Luther King, Jr. meets with President Lyndon B. Johnson and other civil rights leaders.
The following day, President Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act, outlawing discriminatory voting practices.
A Fitting Farewell
Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. on April 4, 1968.
Thousands of mourners, including Rev. Jesse Jackson (pictured above) attended the funeral.
A Lasting Legacy
Mourners at Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral procession show their support of the iconic figure.
Only four days after his death, the first legislation providing for a Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday was filed.
It would take until June 7, 1999 for all 50 states to recognize the holiday, according to The King Center. The third Monday of January is now officially Martin Luther King, Jr. Day across the country.