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10 Important Facts About Dr. Martin Luther King

Some things you may not know about the late civil rights leader.

By Cheryl E PrestonPublished 4 years ago Updated 2 years ago 3 min read
Dr. King

Had he lived, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 92 years old on January 15th 2022. Each year at this time he is celebrated and there are television movies that chronicle his life and death. Many churches around the nation have programs to showcase the things he accomplished in his 39 short years on this planet. There are many well known facts about this Baptist preacher turned civil rights activist and there are also others that are little know. Following are 10 interesting items that relate to the life of Dr. King. Check off the ones you are familiar with and take note of those you were not aware of.

1. HIS NAME WAS MICHAEL

The third Monday in January has been designated as a day to honor slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Each year elementary school children write papers on him but there are a few things about his life that may not be well known. One of them is the fact that when he was born, on January 29th, 1929, the name Michael King Jr. was accidentally written on his birth certificate. It was later changed to reflect that he was named after his father, Martin Sr. This is what his mother intended all along.

2. He entered college at age 15

In 1944, a young Martin King entered Morehouse college, which was the alma mater of his father and grandfather. What was unique about the situation is that he was only 15 years of age. Prior to this he skipped both the 9th and 12th grades, which speaks well of his ability to learn.

3. Preaching was not his first choice as a profession

Dr. King’s father, grandfather, and great grandfather were all Baptist ministers. It was probably assumed that Martin Jr. would follow in their footsteps but this did not immediately take place. The future civil rights leader wanted to apply his time and attention. Initially he thought about becoming a doctor or lawyer but later changed his mind. He went into the same vocation as his dad and granddad and became a Baptist preacher. He was quoted as saying that the Bible had “ many profound truths which one cannot escape.” He enrolled in Crozier Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania and graduated at age 25 with a PHD.

4. He was not proficient in public speaking

Anyone who has heard Dr. King speak realizes that he was articulate ut this was not always the case. During his first year in seminary, Martin Luther Kung Jr. received a C in public speaking. By his senior year, however, he was making straight A’s and became his class valedictorian.

5. He was the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

At this writing, Malala Youdafzai is the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize at age 17. In 1964, however, Dr, King had that honor at age 35.

6. He was jailed 29 times, often on trumped up charges

Movies about Dr. King show him being arrested for issues related to civil rights. He was actually jailed 29 times but often on bogus charges such as driving 25 MPH in a 20 mile zone in Alabama in 1956.

7. He's the only American born person who has been honored with a federal holiday

In 1983, president Ronald Reagan signed a bill that designated the third Monday in January as Dr. King day. George Washington has a day in his honor but he was born before this nation officially became the United States.

8. He died the day after his famous "I have a dream" speech.

On April 3rd 1968, Dr. King made his final speech in Memphis. The following day he was shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel and died.

9. He was involved in an interracial relationship before marrying Corretta Scott.

According to Politico, prior to marrying Coretta Scott, Dr. King was dating a white female by the name of Betty Moitz. In an interview Moitz said they were madly in love and that King's close associates tried to discourage the relationship. Interracial relationships were frowned upon in the 1940's and eventually King and Betty went their separate ways.

10. Dr, King sang with his church choir at the Atlanta premiere of Gone With The Wind.

On December 13th 1939, the epic movie Gone With The Wind premiered in Atlanta, Georgia. Martin Luther King Jr. who was 10 years old at the time, sang at the grand event, along with his church choir.

Dr. King has been dead for 51 years yet interest in him continues, over a half century later. There are many more fascinating facts about this controversial civil rights leader.

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About the Creator

Cheryl E Preston

Cheryl is a widow who enjoys writing about current events, soap spoilers and baby boomer nostalgia. Tips are greatly appreciated.

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    Cheryl E PrestonWritten by Cheryl E Preston

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