Martin Luther King Jr. in the mid-1950s (New York Times Co./Getty Images)

Read more of The Root's coverage of Martin Luther King Jr. here.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University. He is also the editor-in-chief of The Root. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.