Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights icon known for his influential speeches and his marches which greatly contributed to the American civil rights movement in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He was a Noble Peace Prize Winner in 1965, and has long been credited with helping to minimize racial discrimination and prejudice in America.
Here are 5 things that you may not know about him:
1) His Real Name Is Michael: He was actually born as Michael King, Jr. on January 15, 1929. However, his father, Martin King, Sr., was greatly inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther in Germany, and changed his name to Martin Luther King, Sr. He also changed his 5-year-old son’s name to Martin Luther King, Jr.
2) He Went to Prison 29 Times: According to the King Center, the civil rights leader was imprisoned on almost 30 different occasions. He was arrested many times for civil disobedience and other petty crimes such as for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone.
3) His Mom Was Also Shot to Death: MLK’s mother, Alberta Williams King, was shot and killed while playing the organ at a Sunday service inside Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1974. Marcus Wayne Chenault Jr., the man who shot her, said that Christians were his enemy and that he initially intended to kill King’s father instead.
4) He Started College at Just 15 Years Old: MLK was a very gifted and intelligent student. In fact, he skipped high school altogether and went straight to college, enrolling in 1944 at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.
5) Martin Luther King Day First Started in 1986: Although MLK was assassinated in 1968, it wasn’t until 18 years later in 1986 when a bill was passed to create a federal holiday to honor him. This made MLK only the second person (the first was President George Washington) to have his birthday observed as a national holiday.
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5 THINGS YOU WERE NEVER TOLD ABOUT MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. was originally published on michronicleonline.com