Facts about Martin Luther King Jr
10 Facts about Martin Luther King Jr to Admire About This Civil Rights Hero
Full name: Michael King Jr.
Born: January 15, 1929.
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Occupation: Minister and activist.
Died: April 4, 1968.
Best known for: Campaigning for the rights of African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day worth celebrating the many accomplishments of the minister and activist, Martin Luther King Jr. A Nobel Peace Prize winner and key person in ending racial segregation, King is a hero. His leadership was exemplary and his passion was second to none. His work as an activist was nothing short of tiring, and in the end, fatal.
Here are 10 Facts about Martin Luther King Jr to admire about this civil rights hero.
– Born in Atlanta, GA. to African American parents, he was originally named Michael King. His father later changed his name to Martin Luther King Jr. Ministry ran in the blood of the King family. Martin Luther King Jr. entered college at age 15. He attended Morehouse College starting in 1944. While he initially did not want to pursue ministry, he had a change of heart under the mentorship of Morehouse’s president, Benjamin Mays. He ended up finishing seminary school in 1955 at Boston University.
– Martin Luther King Jr. grew up in the south where ‘Jim Crow laws’ separated black and white people. This was segregation. Black and white people had different schools, different drinking fountains, different toilets and even different sections to sit in on the public transportation system. At this time, black people in the south still had a hard time voting, even though the 15th amendment that gave blacks the right to vote was ratified in 1870.
– Martin Luther King Jr. experienced segregation as young as six years old. He was told at one point he couldn’t play with his white friend anymore by the friend’s father!
– As far as his activism involvement, King’s first inspiration came in 1955 after Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus. The African American community became outraged and this sparked Martin Luther King Jr. to organize a boycott of the city’s buses. It took 381 days of protest. In the end, the courts finally ruled that this type of segregation should no longer be recognized.
– Martin Luther King Jr. always protested in peace. He took inspiration from Indian activist, Mahatma Gandhi. Even if the peaceful protests were threatened or attacked, Martin Luther King Jr. always remained peaceful and non-violent. Even though Martin Luther King Jr. practiced non-violent activism, it still didn’t keep him out of jail. In fact, he was jailed 29 times. Some of his charges included loitering, disobeying police orders, violating terms on a suspended sentence and perjury on taxes.
– Martin Luther King Jr is most notable for his famous speech, “I Have a Dream.” The speech was delivered in 1963 at a famous rally called “March on Washington.” With over 250,000 people in attendance, his speech was magnificent. It is was of the most famous speeches on record. The dream is for a society to have black and white people live together in harmony.
– It nearly took 100 years after the abolition of slavery to end segregation. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was finally passed. This act outlawed racial segregation and discrimination in the United States.
– At the time (and at 35 years old), Martin Luther King Jr. was the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in getting the Civil Rights Act passed. In 1964 he was given the good news over the phone as he was laid up due to exhaustion. He donated his prize money (valued at $54,600) to the Civil Rights Movement.
– Martin Luther King Jr.’s story ends in tragedy as he was assassinated in 1968. He was in Tennessee, standing on the balcony of his hotel when he was shot. James Earl Ray was apprehended and convicted of his murder. Ray initially admitted to the murder but later recanted. Ray held onto his claim of innocence until his death in 1998.
– Martin Luther King Jr. will always be remembered and honored for his work during the Civil Rights Movement. There is a statue dedicated to his memory in Washington D.C. A federal American holiday, Martin Luther King Jr. is special to American and should never be forgotten.