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As Americans pause to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Apple has dedicated its homepage to the memory of the slain civil rights leader, a rare practice that the company reserves for exceptional figures in history.
"Today we reflect on the life and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the work that continues in service of the broader concerns of humanity," Apple's website reads over a black-and-white image of Dr. King delivering his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C. Dr. King is the third prominent figure from the black community that Apple has honored in this manner, joining fellow civil rights activist Rosa Parks and former South African president Nelson Mandela.
Apple CEO Tim Cook — Â who has previously named Dr. King as one of his personal heroes — Â tweeted news of the change earlier Monday. "Honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.," Cook wrote, adding #MLK.
Celebrated on the third Monday of January, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983 to commemorate Dr. King's birthday, which fell on Jan. 15. Its creation was not without controversy, and it remains a contentious issue in many states. Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas, for instance, observe the birthdays of both Dr. King and confederate general Robert E. Lee on the same day.
Ranked by traffic aggregator Alexa as the 44th most-visited website in the world, Apple's homepage is valuable real estate. Among the other rare occasions on which it was dedicated to a single individual are the passing of company co-founder Steve Jobs and longtime board member Jerry York.