In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. day, we compiled a list of 7 cool facts about the civil rights activist. The Nobel Peace Prize winner and minister contributed greatly to the civil rights movement and lead a pretty interesting life.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was born Michael King Jr. after his father. When King Jr. was five years old, his father was inspired by Martin Luther after a trip to Germany and decided to change his and his son’s names to Martin Luther King.
King, Jr. skipped both the 9th and 12th grade and was admitted to college at the age of 15. Because most of the college-age population at the time was serving in World War II, college enrollment was down. His alma mater, Morehouse College, opened enrollment to anyone who could pass their entrance exam. King, Jr. graduated at 19 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology.
He was an active member of his church’s choir from a very young age. He even sang at the Atlanta premier of Gone with the Wind. His mother was a talented organist and had a lot of experience as a choir leader. She took him to several churches in their area to sing.
There are streets all over the world named after Martin Luther King, Jr. The US alone has streets in over 40 states named after him. He is even commemorated in a statue form outside of Westminster Abbey in London.
King, Jr. had an older sister, Willie Christine King, and a younger brother, Alfred Daniel Williams King. He also went on to have four children of his own: Yolanda Denise King, Martin Luther King III, Dexter Scott King, and Bernice Albertine King.
King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the most widely known speeches of all time. In a true display of his public speaking talent, the majority of that now-famous speech wasn’t even written down. IT was reported that up to an hour before his public address, King Jr. still didn’t have the full speech prepared.
He was the youngest person to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize until 2011. He was also the first African American to be named Man of the Year by Time Magazine. He has over 50 honorary degrees from colleges and universities. He has received recognition and awards from religious organizations, literary associations, and the US government including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. He is also the first private citizen to have a national holiday declared in their honor.