The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. Today is the holiday celebrating his legacy and his life. He was slain on April 4, 1968. He is best known as a civil rights leader and peace advocate. In the style of Gandhi, he is also noted for his belief in non-violent protest, even when confronted with physical force. U.S. Federal law mandates the celebration of most public holidays on the Monday closest to the original date.
Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace by King Gustav of Sweden in 1964. In 1977, he was posthumously awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom by the (then) President, Jimmy Carter.