Karsh Signature

Yousuf Karsh, master photographer of the 20th century

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr., 1962

On October 14, 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance.

Karsh wrote: “In August 1962 I was asked to hurry down to Atlanta, Georgia, to photograph the Reverend Martin Luther King for a national publication. He had just returned home from nearby Albany, where for months he had been leading the most concentrated and sustained assault on segregation seen till then in the South… This young minister, only 33 when the picture was taken, had been leading the civil rights battle since the bus boycott in Montgomery six years earlier. He had already seen many barriers fall; he had helped to engender a new spirit. “Without a movement like the one in Albany,” he said, “thousands of Negroes would still be walking around with their heads buried. Now they have become organized and articulate. They walk with a new sense of dignity and self-respect.”

As I flew back to Ottawa that evening and the quiet coolness of Little Wings, my home on the Rideau River, I thought of something else he had said: “No social advance rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of dedicated individuals.” No man in America personified better than Martin Luther King the dedication of his people to their” inalienable rights.