Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday observed on the third Monday of January, celebrates the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr. He was an influential American civil rights leader well-known for his campaigns to end racial segregation on public transport and for racial equality in the United States. A Baptist minister who advocated the use of nonviolent means to end racial segregation.  He first came to national prominence during a bus boycott by African Americans in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. He founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 and led the 1963 March on Washington.  The most influential of African American civil rights leaders during the 1960s, he was instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination in public accommodations, facilities, and employment, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. King was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1964. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968. The day is usually celebrated with marches and parades and with speeches by civil rights and political leaders.