The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., is seen in this undated file photo. Martin Luther King Jr., leader in the African-American civil rights movement was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis. (AP Photo) | ASSOCIATED PRESS
As we celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we wanted to acknowledge some under-appreciated activists who also sacrificed their lives for the causes they so vehemently believed in. From gay rights to civil rights to women's equality, these seven inspirational leaders are gone but their fight lives on.
Harvey Milk: LGBT Rights
"If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door." -Harvey Milk
The first openly gay elected official in California, Harvey Milk was a fierce advocate for equality and justice. He passed groundbreaking legislation in San Francisco, making it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Milk served only 11 months in office before being shot to death by Dan White, a fellow city supervisor, according to Notable Biography. Upon hearing the news, an impromptu candle-light vigil was held for Milk, attended by more than 25,000 people, The New York Times had reported.
Benazir Bhutto: Democracy
"Despite threats of death, I will not acquiesce to tyranny, but rather lead the fight against it." -Benazir Bhutto
While she lived much of her life in exile from the country she loved, she always returned -- considering it her obligation to help her own people.
As the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Bhutto focused on building schools, fighting poverty, increasing access to healthcare and stamping out terrorism, as chronicled by Biography.
She faced incessant opposition from Islamic fundamentalists, but she refused to let this cripple her efforts.
According to Pakistan People's Party, while running for office in 2007, she was the victim of two assassination attempts. She survived the first but succumbed to the second.
"Viola Liuzzo gave her life for what she believed in, and what she believed in is the cause of humanity everywhere." -Former Governor George Romney
A mother to five children and a civil rights activist, Liuzzo spearheaded protests and worked closely with the NAACP in the fight for equality. She was driving an African-American protester to an event in Selma, Ala., when a car filled with KKK members pulled up along side hers and fired two shots into her head, according to CNN. She died instantly.