It was in the summer of 1963 — the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation — that King spoke at the biggest human rights march in the history of his country. More than 200,000 people gathered at the Washington Monument and marched across the National Mall to the Lincoln Memorial, demanding the civil and economic rights African-Americans had been denied ever since the nation was founded. There were speeches by civil rights leaders, by labour leaders, even by Josephine Baker, and performances by Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, Mahalia Jackson, Peter, Paul and Mary... and then, of course, there was King.
A year later, he would win the Nobel Peace Prize. And Congress would pass the Civil Rights Act, banning segregation and outlawing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
It seems, this year, like an especially important time to remember that legacy — as Republican candidates like Ron Paul run on platforms that would undo the legislation people like King fought so hard for. So here you go, 17 of the greatest minutes in American history: