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Martin Luther King Jr.: 8 peaceful protests that bolstered civil rights

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. believed that nonviolent protest is the most effective weapon against a racist and unjust society. But it required rallying people to his cause. Here are some of the most revolutionary peaceful protests King led.

4. March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, 1963

AP/File
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, addresses marchers during his 'I Have a Dream' speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 28, 1963. Monday, Jan. 16, marks the observance of King's birthday.

Perhaps Dr. King’s most famous act as a civil rights leader came during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, on Aug. 28, 1963. The largest political rally ever seen in the US, it drew between 200,000 and 300,000 police and participants, to whom King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Among other things, the speech advocated racial harmony and economic rights for African-Americans. Observers estimated that nearly 80 percent of the marchers were black. 

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