20 Facts About Martin Luther King Jr, You Should Know

Whenever the name Martin Luther King Jr is mentioned in America, even elementary school children can relate. His story has been told across classrooms, political platforms and recreated in different literary forms such as books, movies and numerous articles. But there are certain facts about him that are discussed infrequently and may not be known by many. In fact, everyone will quickly recall his historic “I have a dream” public speech, made on the occasion of the civil right movement “The great March on Washington”;where he advocated for the civil and economic rights of African Americans. 

In this article we will have a look into facts about Martin Luther King Jr that everyone should know.  Undeniably true, years after his assassination and even today, his impact on America still lives strong and have extended to the world at large. One may not be able to reckon how a Baptist minister played such a key role in the American civil right movement in the mid-1950; how one singular vision of his affected the world and changed the world for the better. But that's just an amazing fact about this historic icon.
20 Facts About Martin Luther King Jr, You Should Know

Here are 20 facts about Martin Luther King Jr You should know 

  1. King Jr was born in Atlanta, Georgia on the 15th of January 1929.
  2. He is one of the two Americans whose birthday is celebrated as a national holiday in the US.
  3. He was born a middle child to Reverend Martin Luther King Sr, a baptist minister and Alberta Williams King his mother, a school teacher.
  4. Martin Luther King Jr was not his name from birth. At birth he was named Michael King Jr after his father. Years later, his father went on to change his name, adopting the name Martin Luther in honor of the German Protestant religious leader and Martin later took the same name.
  5. Martin was a highly educated man who bagged a lot of degrees during his lifetime. He first attended “Morehouse College” where he studied medicine and law. When he had a change of mind and decided to follow his fathers footsteps in the ministry, he went on to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in sociology and divinity in Crozer Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in systematic theology in Boston University.
  6. Although he was a great public speaker, a preacher, leader, civil right activist, he is best known in America and across international platforms for his involvement as one of the pioneers of peaceful protest in America.
  7. He was mentored by a theologian and civil rights leader “Howard Thurman”, while has was studying at Boston University for his doctorate degree.
  8. He met his better half Coretta Scott and got married to her in 1953. She was a music student and aspiring singer at the time, and together they had four children – Martin Luther King III, Yolanda King, Dexter Scott King and Bernice King. 
  9. Martin led a boycott on buses in Alabama, following the incident of the arrest of Rosa Parks, a black who was unjustly treated for refusing to give up her seat to a white man. This boycott eventually led to the dissolving of racial segregation on public buses in Alabama.
  10. His most famous public speech/ address is the “I Have A Dream” speech that he delivered in front of Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. to a crowd of about quarter of a million people. This speech was a call for peace and equality, as he envisioned a society in which racial discrimination will no longer thrive. Here is part of his speech - “we hold the truth to be self evident that all men are created equal”.
  11. Underneath his good records are some accusations against his morality. A number of allegations of extramarital affairs and womanizing were made against him, which were further admitted by him as part of his weaknesses.
  12. Some time around the 1980s, investigations were made and it was discovered that parts of his Ph.D. dissertation were plagiarized.
  13. In 1964, his was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his strong role in opposing racial discrimination, through peaceful/ non violent protests. Being so passionate, he donated all the $54,123 he received for his Nobel Peace prize to civil rights movement.
  14. In 1965, on the 5th day of march to be precise, Martin was involved in organizing a protest that involved a march from Selma to Montgomery. This protest was held in view of the murder of a protester by an Alabama trooper. Unfortunately, something even more tragic happened, this march was blocked by police officers and state troopers who brutally handled participants and it  came to be renowned “Bloody Sunday” which aired on all stations across the U.S.
  15. He made his last great speech on the 3rd of April,1968 - “I’ve been to the mountain top”, just the day before his demise.
  16. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated in Memphis, he was shot by a man named James Earl Ray. He had a favorite song which was sung by his friend on his funeral “Take my hand, precious Lord” 
  17. Around the later part of his life, he took a turn from civil rights and focused on campaigns to alleviate poverty, he was also said to have made some impact to stop the Vietnam war.
  18. Even in death he has continued to receive awards. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and a congressional gold medal as recent as 2004.
  19. A federal holiday is dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr in the United States. This holiday was signed into law by Ronald Reagan in 1983, but was only first observed in 1986. Some states were reluctant to observe the Martin Luther King Jr day, but since the year 2000, all 50 states in the US now observe this day.
  20. 20. Martin Luther King Jr is a very prominent personality that made his mark in the United States and the  world at large. These about facts about him are just important facts you should know.

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