Martin Luther King, Jr.

image for Martin Luther King, Jr.
Exhibition Label
Press conference in Birmingham, Alabama, April 11, 1963
After the frustrating stalemate in Albany, Georgia, Martin Luther King and members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference were determined to see their next effort succeed. On April 3, 1963, following months of careful planning, King initiated a massive desegregation campaign aimed at "the breaking of racial barriers in Birmingham [Alabama], the most thoroughly segregated big city" in America. When marchers took to that city’s streets in peaceful protest, they were brutally attacked by police acting on orders from Public Safety Commissioner Eugene "Bull" Connor. At a press conference, King declared a state injunction prohibiting further protests to be "raw tyranny under the guise of law and order" and announced his willingness to defy it. Arrested on Good Friday, King remained in jail for nine days, during which time he wrote his "Letter from Birmingham Jail"—an eloquent and brilliantly argued response to those who maintained that racial issues should be left to the courts.
Ernst Haas, 1921 - 1986
Martin Luther King, Jr., 15 Jan 1929 - 4 Apr 1968
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© Ernst Haas / Getty Images
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
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Printed Material
Printed Material\Papers
Equipment\Sound Devices\Microphone
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Male
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Activist\Civil rights activist\Civil rights leader
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Religion and Spirituality\Clergy\Minister
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Nobel Prize
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Presidential Medal of Freedom
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Congressional Gold Medal
Gelatin silver print
Image: 34.3 x 22.4 cm (13 1/2 x 8 13/16")
Mat: 55.9 x 40.6 cm (22 x 16")
National Portrait Gallery