If the names of people that have impacted the tides of history during their lifetime and even after they have passed to the great beyond are been mentioned, Martin Luther King Jr will sit prominently at the top of the ladder.
The American civil rights leader was an enigma during his lifetime. After his assassination some 53-years ago, he is still a major reference point anytime the history of the United States is being narrated.
There are certainly many interesting facts about the late civil rights hero, but Legit.ng has compiled just 10 of them for your perusal.
1. Date of birth, place of birth and original name
Martin Luther King Jr was born in 1929, January 15 to be precise. He was given the original name Michael King Jr. He was born in Atlanta Georgia. His family lived at Auburn Avenue, which was also called “Sweet Auburn."
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2. Born into a Baptist family
King was born into a solid Baptist family. Both his father and maternal grandfather were Baptist preachers. His father pastored the very well known Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. It was in that background that King grew up.
3. He attended three major schools
King was very well educated both in theology and in the circular. First, he attended Morehouse College, Atlanta where he studied sociology. Morehouse was a historically all-black school. He enrolled there at the age of 15 in 1944. Thereafter, he enrolled at the Crozer Theological Seminary where he bagged another degree, this time in divinity. He moved to Boston University for his doctoral studies in systematic theology in 1951.
4. He became a Baptist minister
Just like his father, King Jr later became a Baptist minister. In the year 1954, he became the pastor of the Baptist Church at Dexter Avenue in Montgomery, Alabama.
5. Most visible civil rights activist
At the commanding heights of the hot American civil rights movements of the 20th Century was King. He was the founding leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference which provided leadership and direction for the civil rights movements. He was a major force in the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955.
6. I have a dream speech
On August 28, 1963, King delivered what was to become one of the most read and most circulated public speeches by any leader in modern history. The speech contained snippets that some people referred to as "prophetic." Titled "I Have a Dream" the speech was delivered during the historic March on Washington. A memorable quote from the speech reads:
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character."
7. Marriage and family life
He was married to Coretta Scott King, an author and an equally vociferous civil rights activist. They got married in 1953 and had four children together: Martin Luther King III, Yolanda King, Bernice King, Dexter King. Coretta passed on in 2006.
8. Nobel Peace Prize Award
The Nobel Peace Committee noticed King's contributions to non-violent civil rights movements and singled him out for a global honour. So in 1964, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for:
"His non-violent struggle for civil rights for the Afro-American population."
9. Assassination, death and final resting place
On April 4, 1968, King was killed in Memphis, Tennessee, United States. He was fatally shot at Lorraine Motel where he lodged. He died an hour after he was shot by James Earl Ray. He was buried on April 9, 1968, at his final resting place: National Historical Park, Atlanta, Georgia, United States.
10. There is an American Holiday in his honour
To honour the memory and works of King Jr, a holiday was instituted in his honour. This is observed in America every 3rd Monday in January of every year.
The world will forever remember King as one of the major persons that shaped world events during his lifetime. But what remains to be seen is the total elimination of racism, which was what he stood for.
10 other facts about Martin Luther King Jr
Meanwhile, Legit.ng has previously published some more facts about the legend, Martin Luther King Jr.
The facts included in the article includes where and how he had his first experience of racism.
Also included was his first place of work and the type of work he did before becoming a minister and an activist.