Rarely Seen Photos Show The Early Years Of Martin Luther King Jr.

Take a look back at the days with his family, his congregation, and fellow civil rights leaders that shaped his work.

This year, Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 93.

King began his career as a Baptist minister in the segregated American South. He rose to national prominence after leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, which was organized with other activists who went on to found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957. His civil rights activism was shaped by his Christian beliefs — he earned his doctorate in systemic theology — and the teachings of Indian activist Mahatma Gandhi, who advocated for nonviolence and civil disobedience. When King was assassinated in 1968, Americans mourned him deeply. The annual holiday commemorating his birthday began in 1986.

We're looking back at early photos of King’s life with his family, his congregation, and other leaders in the civil rights movement.

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Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. relaxes at home with his family in May 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama.

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Left: Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, pose for a photo across the street from the Alabama Judicial Building in May 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama. Right: Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King sit with three of their four children in their Atlanta home on March 17, 1963.

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Martin Luther King Jr. relaxes at home with his family in May 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama.

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Martin Luther King Jr. stands at the pulpit delivering his sermon as a white-robed choir listens in the background at Ebenezer Baptist Church circa 1960.

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Martin Luther King Jr. speaks with people in a car after delivering a sermon on May 13, 1956, in Montgomery, Alabama.

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Left: Martin Luther King Jr. delivers a sermon on May 13, 1956, in Montgomery, Alabama. Right: Martin Luther King Jr. relaxes at home in May 1956 in Montgomery.

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Martin Luther King Jr., who served as the director of the bus boycott, outlines boycott strategies to his advisors and organizers, including Rev. Ralph Abernathy and Rosa Parks.

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Leaders of the Montgomery bus boycott stand at a bus stop and wait for a bus following the end of the yearlong protest in Montgomery, Alabama, on Dec. 26, 1956. Among them are Martin Luther King Jr. (fourth from left), Coretta Scott King (fifth from left), and Ralph Abernathy.

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Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy are shown "integrating" one of the first buses in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955.

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Martin Luther King Jr., accompanied by Ralph Abernathy, is booked by Lt. D.H. Lackey in Montgomery, Alabama, on Feb. 23, 1956. The civil rights leaders were arrested on indictments returned by a grand jury in the bus boycott.

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Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, smile broadly as they stand in front of a group of cheering followers after King's conviction for his part in the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956.

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Left: Martin Luther King speaks in Atlanta in 1960. Right: Martin Luther King Jr. stands in front of a bus at the end of the Montgomery bus boycott, Montgomery, Alabama, Dec. 26, 1956.

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Martin Luther King Jr. poses with unidentified others, 1956.

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A 1965 demonstration in Montgomery, Alabama, for civil rights, included Martin Luther King Jr. and Stokely Carmichael.

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A man puts a little powder on Martin Luther King Jr.'s brow before a television program in Washington, Aug. 13, 1957.

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Martin Luther King Jr. gives a speech in an undated photo.

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Left: Police officers O.M. Strickland and J.V. Johnson apply force in arresting Martin Luther King Jr. for loitering near a courtroom where one of his integration lieutenants was on the stand in 1958. King charged that the arresting officers beat and choked him. Police denied the charges. Right: Martin Luther King Jr. holds his 2-year old son Martin Luther King III as he stands near a burnt cross in front of his home in Atlanta in April 1960.

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Martin Luther King Jr. gives a press conference in an undated photo.

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With the letter opener still protruding from his chest, Martin Luther King Jr. is wheeled into Harlem Hospital for treatment after being stabbed on September 20, 1958. He was seriously injured.

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Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, both wearing garlands, are received by admirers after landing at the airport in New Delhi, India, Feb. 10, 1959. King, who is known here as the American Gandhi, flew to India on what he calls a "four-week pilgrimage in India which to me means Mahatma Gandhi."

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Martin Luther King Jr. was sentenced to a four-month term at a public works camp for violating a suspended sentence he received for a traffic violation. He was refused bail. Here, he is led away by DeKalb County Sheriff Robert Broome on Oct. 25, 1960, in Decatur, Georgia.

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Martin Luther King Jr. addresses crowds during the March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, where he gave his "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963.