Mind Boggling Facts About The Legendary Martin Luther King Jr
Last Updated on March 6, 2021 by Ephraim Iyodo
Martin Luther King Jr of blessed memories has been an iconic personality in the world for years now, and to further unveil some of his iconic facts stated in the history books, we at Scholarsark have dug deep to give you some unravelling facts about the Late Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. (born Michael King Jr.; January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.
King sought equality and human rights for African Americans.
Facts About Martin Luther King Jr That You May Not Know
Born Michael Luther King Jr, not Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was born Michael Luther King, Jr.
In 1934, however, his father, a pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, traveled to Germany and became inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. As a result, King Sr. changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.
King entered college at the age of 15.
King was such a brilliant student that he skipped grades 9 and 12 before entering Morehouse College, the alma mater of his father and maternal grandfather, in 1944. Although he was the son, grandson and great-grandson of Baptist ministers, King did not intend to follow the family calling until Morehouse President Benjamin E. Mays, a noted theologian, convinced him otherwise. King was ordained before graduating from college with a degree in sociology.
Youngest Noble Peace Prize Recipient
At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.
King received his doctorate in systematic theology.
After receiving a degree in theology from Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, King went to graduate school at Boston University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1955. The title of his dissertation was “A Comparison of Perceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wyman.
King’s I Have a Dream’ speech was not his first at the Lincoln Memorial.
Six years before his iconic speech at the March on Washington, King was among the civil rights leaders who spoke in the shadow of the Great Emancipator during the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom on May 17, 1957. Before a crowd estimated at 15,000 to 30,000 people, King delivered his first national address on voting rights. His speech, in which he urged America to “give us the ballot,” resonated strongly and put him at the forefront of civil rights leadership.
King was imprisoned almost 30 times.
According to the King Center, the civil rights leader has been jailed 29 times. He has been arrested for acts of civil disobedience and on trumped-up charges, such as when he was jailed in 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama, for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25-mile zone.
King narrowly escaped an assassination attempt a decade before his death.
On September 20, 1958, King was in Harlem, signing copies of his new book, A Trip to Freedom, at Blumstein’s Department Store, when Isola Vare Curry approached him. The woman asked if he was Martin Luther King Jr. after he said yes, Curry replied, “I’ve been looking for you for five years,” and she plunged a seven-inch letter opener into his chest. The tip of the blade rested next to his aorta, and King went through several hours of delicate emergency surgery. Surgeons later told King that just one sneeze could have punctured his aorta and killed him. From his hospital bed, where he recovered for several weeks, King issued a statement affirming his nonviolent principles and saying that he felt no ill will toward his mentally ill assailant.
King’s last public speech foretold his death.
King came to Memphis in April 1968 to support a strike by the city’s black scavengers, and in his speech the night before the assassination he told the crowd gathered at Mason Temple Church: “Like everyone else, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But right now I don’t care about that… I have seen the Promised Land.” I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not afraid of anyone. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are the only other Americans to have had their birthdays observed as a national holiday.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill that instituted a federal holiday in King’s honor. The holiday, first celebrated in 1986, is celebrated on the third Monday of January, close to January 15, the birthday of the civil rights leader.