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The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who had been pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He led a nonviolent protest by boycotting the city buses of Montgomery, Ala. On Dec. 31, 1955, Rev. King stated: “If you will protest courageously, and yet with dignity and Christian love, when the history books are written in future generations, the historians will have to pause and say, ‘There lived a great people … who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization.’”

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