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Word Count: 497
Martin Luther King Jrs birthday was first agknowledged as a national holiday in 1986 However his life had become a part of Americans for years before this To many African Americans whose rights he helped expand to many other minorities whose lives his victories touched and to many whites who welcomed the changes his leadership brought Mr Kings life seemed overwhelming even as he lived it He is celebrated as a hero not only for the eyes hes opened but for his dreams and hopes he shared during a time of change After long training in the North Mr King returned to his home becoming a pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery Alabama Mr King became the leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott when it broke out in 1955 That year long non-violent protest which led to a Supreme Court ruling against bus segregation brought Mr King to the attention of the entire country The occurances immediately following were less successful but still provided Mr King with the opportunity to strengthen his protest strategies Then in 1963 Mr King and the SCLC Southern Christian Leadership Conference joined a campaign in Birmingham Alabama to end segregation there and to force downtown businesses to allow blacks to work Peaceful protests were not long after met by fire hoses and attack dogs joined by local police Images of this violence broadcast on national news began an outrage and this reaction stirred the political atmosphere and the next year President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Meanwhile the SCLC was repeating the tactics of Birmingham in Selma Alabama but this time for the African American voter registration Once again images of the police brutality because of the protest helped the passage of federal legislation this time the Voting Rights Act of 1965 The community of black activists felt that these two major victories set the limit of what gains
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