Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Things you may not know about the life of the great civil rights activist

From the LifeMinute.TV Team

January 14, 2021

Much is known about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from his famous words to all his contributions to the American civil rights movement, but you may not know all the details of his extraordinary life. Here are some interesting facts about one of the country’s most historical figures in time to honor him on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. But his name was not originally Martin. He was named Michael after his father, who reportedly later changed both of their names after being inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther after a trip to Germany.

King entered Morehouse College in 1944 at the young age of 15. He went on to earn a B.A. in sociology and became an ordained Baptist minister at just 19 years old.

He earned two graduate degrees, a bachelor of divinity degree from Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania in 1951, and a doctorate of philosophy in systematic theology from Boston University in 1955.

In its January 1964 issue, Time magazine named Dr. King “Man of the Year” for 1963, making the civil rights leader the first African American recipient of this honor. That same year, at the age of 35, Dr. King became the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr. King's controversial "Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam" speech, recorded on vinyl, earned him a posthumous Grammy for Best Spoken Word Recording in 1970.

On March 25, 1965, Dr. King led thousands of nonviolent demonstrators to the steps of the capitol in Montgomery, Alabama after a 5-day, 54-mile march from Selma, Alabama.

According to the King Center, Dr. King went to jail 29 times. He was arrested for acts of civil disobedience and on trumped-up charges.   

Though he gave up to 450 speeches a year, Dr. King's pivotal 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered to 250,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial, became his most famous one.

George Washington is the only other American to have a birthday observed as a federal holiday. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated on the third Monday in January, close to Dr. King's birthday on January 15.

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