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There are many images of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. circulating through Google Images and other web-based photo galleries. But few are as distinct as that of Jason Patterson‘s “American Heritage V” portrait that is inspired by what he says is a 1955 photo of a then-26-year-old King.

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The piece is part of the Illinois-based artist’s “American Heritage” series that features “historical and contemporary American figures in unique contexts.”

“I drew this one because of how young he was and how important the year in which the photograph was taken,” Patterson, 27, said in a Gmail chat interview. “It was the year of Emmett Till, the bus boycott and the year he got his doctorate. He was only 26.”

The photo to the left is what Patterson used to draw the portrait above. (It appears to be a yearbook photo of a young MLK)

For a deeper look into Patterson’s artistic perspective of the Dr. King, please check out his blog.

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