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Camilo José Vergara began photographing art in poor urban areas in the 1970s. He soon realized that one of the most prevalent figures in the artworks was Martin Luther King Jr. (Camilo José Vergara)

Martin Luther King Jr. by Mural

Photographer Camilo José Vergara captures varying portrayals of the civil rights leader in urban areas across the United States

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Martin Luther King Jr murals
(Maura McCarthy)
This striking blue wall is painted with the faces of several black leaders, including Muhammad Ali, Coretta Scott King, Eldridge Cleaver and Malcolm X with the face of John F. Kennedy is pictured off to the side of the mural. Vergara took the photo in Ford Heights, a predominantly African-American neighborhood about 25 miles south of Chicago. In 1980, when Vergara captured this image, Ford Heights was one of the poorest suburbs in the United States, with 39 percent of its population at or below poverty level.

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