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Facts about Martin Luther King Jr
Martin Luther King Jr. is arguably the most influential black leader in American history. He spearheaded a nationwide effort to end legal segregation while working to enact such laws as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  His most famous speech continues to be a staple in American culture. Discussed below are five interesting facts about Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Top 5 Facts About Martin Luther King Jr.

 

  1. King’s father was born Michael King, but changed his name in 1931 in reverence to the German theologian Martin Luther.
  2. After 12-year-old Martin learned that his grandmother had died from a heart attack in May 1941, he was so distraught that he jumped from a second story window of their house.
  3. Martin was almost assassinated before many of his famous civil rights accomplishments in the early 1960s. Izola Ware Curry approach Martin at a book signing for “Stride Towards Freedom.” After receiving confirmation that he was indeed Martin Luther King Jr. she exclaimed “I’ve been looking for you for five years” and stabbed Martin in the chest with a letter opener.  The blade pressed against his aorta and took several hours of careful surgery to remove.
  4. Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 at the age of 35.  This made him the youngest male recipient of the prestigious award.  He donated the entire prize of $54,123 (now equivalent to $400,000) to the civil rights movement. Martin won dozens more awards for his work including the Medal of Freedom, Congressional Gold Medal, and a Grammy.  The Grammy was for Best Spoken Word Album, awarded in 1971 for King’s “Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam.”
  5. Martin Luther King Jr. was targeted by the FBI for being “the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro, and national security.”  Records of Martin taken by the FBI are held in the National Achieve but remain sealed from public access until 2027.

These facts about Martin Luther King Jr. provide but a glimpse into the life of a man whose work is still so vital to the progress of U.S. society and democracy.

Sunny Bhatt

Sources: Today I Found Out, Biography
Photo: WP

unesco_us_voting_palestine
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has suspended United States voting rights after failing to pay their dues. Along with Israel, the U.S. halted its payments in protest of the inclusion of Palestine in October 2011. The initial decision was based on U.S. laws that prohibit funding any U.N. agency that recognizes Palestinian demands for statehood.

UNESCO, which is responsible for designating World Heritages sites, promoting global education and supporting free press amongst other tasks, will see a 22 percent decrease in budget without the U.S. Phyllis Magrab, the U.S. National Commissioner for UNESCO, told the Associated Press that without the U.S.’s $80 million a year funding, “We won’t be able to have the same clout…In effect, we (now won’t) have a full tool box. We’re missing our hammer.”

The loss of voting rights comes at a crucial time for the U.S. international relations, as Washington attempts to maintain peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine. The Palestinians have yet to be granted full membership to the U.N., but the inclusion in UNESCO can be seen as first steps.

The Israeli ambassador to UNESCO, Nimrod Barkan, told the Associated Press that his country supports the U.S. decision, “objecting to the politicization of UNSCO, or any international organization, with the accession of a non-existing country like Palestine.”

Palestinian ambassador Elias Sanbar, expressed his regret at the loss of U.S. funding, but was confident that other countries would step in to make up for the shortfall. But he also questioned, “Is this in the interest of the US, to be replaced?”

This concern has not gone unnoticed. Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota told the Associated Press “The United States must not voluntarily forfeit its leadership in the world community.”

UNESCO has made no comment on the withdrawal of U.S. funding.

– David Smith

Sources: Press TV, Reuters, BBC