Today in history.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King’s birthday, January 15.
King was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, a Baptist minister and social activist who played a key role in the American civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968.
Here are some interesting facts about the legend and things to remember him by.
- King’s birth name was Michael, not Martin.
The civil rights leader was born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929. In 1934, however, his father, a pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, traveled to Germany and became inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. As a result, King Sr. changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.
- King entered college at the age of 15.
King was such a gifted student that he skipped grades nine and 12 before enrolling in 1944 at Morehouse College
- King received his doctorate in systematic theology.
After earning a divinity degree from Pennsylvania’s Crozer Theological Seminary, King attended graduate school at Boston University, where he received his Ph.D. degree in 1955. The title of his dissertation was “A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman.”
- King was jailed 29 times.
According to the King Center, the civil rights leader went to jail nearly 30 times. He was arrested for acts of civil disobedience and on trumped-up charges, such as when he was jailed in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956 for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone.
- Make speeches of their own.
Dr. King was an incredible public speaker. Have students listen to any of his public addresses, and then write and perform speeches of their own that address issues that are important to them.
6.Lasting legacy. Dr. King died years ago but the effects of his life still last until today.
- He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott
On December 1, 1955 an African American woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white person and was arrested due to the racial segregation laws. This led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott which was planned by E.D. Nixon and led by Martin Luther King. The boycott lasted for 385 days.
- His speech intensified the Civil Rights Movement
During the March on Washington, Martin Luther King delivered the famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a gathering of over 250,000 people.
- King was Time Magazine’s Man of the Year in 1963
In its January 1964 issue, Time named Martin Luther King, Jr., ”Man of the Year” for 1963 recognizing him as a fearless leader who fought to bring equality in America. He was the first African American recipient of this honor. Martin saw it not as a personal honor but as a tribute to the civil rights movement.
- He became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
On October 14, 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for leading non-violent resistance to racial prejudice in the U.S. At the age of thirty-five, he was the youngest recipient of the award at the time.
I have a dream….delivered 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
“And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!….”