When you think of the word "hero", the name Martin Luther King, Jr., should come to mind. No one in recent history has done more for any group of people than King did for the African-American race. To anyone who fought for Civil Rights or believes in equality, Martin Luther King, Jr., is a hero. Any number of heroic moments during the civil rights struggle have been used to identify Martin Luther King, Jr. He played a main role in the Montgomery bus boycott, he was the main speaker at the March on Washington, and he was the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

None of these achievments, however, could top his policy of nonviolent protest. It was probably the most important part of the civil rights movement from 1957 to 1968. Martin Luther King was born in Atlanta on Jan. 15, 1929. He went to local elementary and high schools, and then enrolled in Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1944. He wasn't planning on following his Father and entering the ministry, but he then met Dr. Benjamin Mays, who convinced him that religion was something to think about. King went on and got his bachelor's degree in 1948, and attended Crozer Theological Seminary.

He won the Plafker Award and the J. Lewis Crozer Fellowship award as one of the most outstanding students when he graduated. King later went on and got his Doctorate. King went back South to become pastor at a Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala. There, he made his first mark on the civil-rights movement, by making the black community participate in a 382-day boycott of the city's bus lines. King was arrested and was harassed by police, but he got the U.S. Supreme Court to deciced bus segregation was unconstitutional.

A national hero and a civil-rights figure of importance, King then put together the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King was elected its president, and he began helping other communities organize protests against discrimination. Three years later, King's nonviolent movement was put to a test in Birmingham, during a protest for fair hiring practices and the desegregation of department-stores. King and his followers were beaten by police and eventually arressted. King did not give up,though. Later that year, King was a speaker at the March on Washington.

Time magazine gave him man of the year following that event in 1963. A few months later he was named winner of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize. King then lendend his support to the Memphis sanitation men's strike. He wanted to discourage violence, and he wanted to focus attention on the poor, unorganized workers of the city. The men were only asking for basic union representation and raises that they deserved. It was one of King's last stands.

King was shot to death on April 4, 1968, on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel just off Beale Street. He was standing outside with Jesse Jackson and Ralph Abernathy, King . His death caused a wave of shock in major cities across the country. King's legacy has lived on, however. His birthday is now a national holiday. That is a huge honor that few people have.Through all of his battles in civil-rights to the winning of his Nobel prize, Martin Luther King is a man to idolize. He is truly a hero.