One of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s major themes was unity.
That message is underscored Monday by a Google doodle highlighting the achievements of the civil rights leader, whose birthday is honored each year with a national holiday in the US. Monday isn't King's real birthday -- that was Sunday -- but a federal holiday signed into law in 1983 sets aside the third Monday of each January to observe his birthday.
King began preaching as a Baptist minister in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1954 and soon became the face of the American civil rights movement, which sought to end racial segregation and economic injustice in the US. His message of nonviolent civil disobedience and love, delivered through powerful speeches and writings, shaped the character of the movement.
King urged Americans of all races to keep "working toward a world of brotherhood, cooperation and peace."
For his efforts, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 -- four years before he was struck down by an assassin's bullet.
The holiday is marked each year in communities across the US by marches, speeches, lectures and musical programs highlighting King's brave leadership.
Google said in a blog post that guest artist Keith Mallett, who created Monday's doodle, was aiming to capture King's most important message of unity.
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