Dr. King was no doubt a very unique man who accomplished quite a bit in his 39 years. Following are some interesting facts you may or may not know about him:
- When he was born his name was Michael, not Martin. But when he was 5 years old his father renamed him after the Protestant Reformation Leader Martin Luther. And his dad, the senior King obviously changed his own name too.
- Dr. King was very intelligent, he skipped the 9th and 12th grades and enrolled in Morehouse College in Atlanta when he was just 15. And he received a doctorate at 26!
- His first national address in 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial in D.C. was not the “I Have A Dream” speech, instead it was a speech he gave in 1955 about voting rights. How ironic.
- Although he was a man of peace, Dr. King went to jail about 30 times, with many of the charges being exaggerated.
- Dr. King was almost assassinated a decade before his actual assassination. In 1958 a woman stabbed him with a letter opener while he was at his book signing in Harlem.
- The night before his assassination in 1968, Dr. King was giving a public speech that eerily foretold his death. In that speech he said, “Mine eyes have seen the coming of the glory of the Lord.”
- Members of Dr. King’s family didn’t believe James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated Dr. King acted alone. A jury in Memphis agreed there was a conspiracy but a U.S. Department of Justice investigation reported there was no evidence of a conspiracy.
- Dr. King’s mother was playing the organ in church when she was shot and killed just steps away from where her son preached non-violence at the iconic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
- Dr. King, along with Abraham Lincoln and George Washington are the only Americans to have their birthdays observed as a national holiday.