The name of Martin Luther King Jr. is synonymous with the civil rights movement in the United States. Here are five interesting facts about him.
- Martin Luther King Jr. was actually born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929. The civil rights leader’s name was changed after his father traveled to Germany and was inspired by the Protestant Reformation Leader Martin Luther. His inspiration resulted in his father changing both his own and Jr’s names.
- King excelled in school. He entered college at age 15, attending Morehouse College graduating with a degree in sociology. King earned a divinity degree from Pennsylvania’s Crozer Theological Seminary, and he also attended Boston University where he received his PhD in 1955.
- King was jailed 29 times over the course of his life. Most of the reasons he was jailed were for acts of civil disobedience, and utterly ridiculous charges including driving 30mph in a 25mph zone- evidence of the time.
- Martin Luther King Jr was the first African American to be named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year. King was also the youngest person, at the time, to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in the civil rights movement.
- King’s “I Have a Dream” speech held at the Lincoln Memorial was at the time one of the largest demonstrations in Washington history. More than 250,000 people attended the speech. The speech took place during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The iconic speech, however, was not King’s first at Lincoln memorial. He delivered his first national address at the monument, where he spoke on the topic of voting rights.
– Caitlin Zusy