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On the third Monday of January, the United States celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Most people see this as an uncontroversial holiday and take for granted that Dr. King's significant contributions to securing equality of all Americans should be celebrated. However, this was not always the case. Civil rights advocates fought for years to get this holiday recognized, and there were significant disagreements and controversies along the way. Some states still hesitate to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day today.

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1. Who Was Martin Luther King Jr.?

Martin Luther King Jr. is most famous for his contributions to the American Civil Rights Movements. Although the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution had freed black people from slavery in 1865, they still suffered from significant discrimination and legal penalties nearly a century later. In the 1950s, King and other concerned citizens began protesting this unequal state of affairs. King quickly emerged as a leader due to his powerful speeches and charismatic personality.

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