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10 Fascinating Facts About Legendary Martin Luther King Jr. You Might Not Know

Incredible civil rights activist Dr Martin Luther King Jr. born on January 15, 1929, and until he was fatally shot on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee at the age of 39, he was a preacher who used the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience to fight for equality and justice.

King was an interesting person besides his known roles in social activism which led to his death. Posthumously, King continued to make waves and currently, all the states in the U.S. observe January 15 as the Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Here are some facts about Dr King you might not know:

Moments to his assassination

Dr Martin Luther King Jr. was a smoker, but he hid his habits to avoid stigma and controversy as a Christian leader. It is reported that King was smoking on the balcony of the Memphis hotel before he was shot.

Until 2011, Dr Martin Luther King Jr. was the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. He was just 35 years old when he won it in 1964. King donated all the Nobel Peace Prize money – $54,123 – to the Civil Rights movement.

After serving as minister of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, King moved to Atlanta to become co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church with his father. He was ordained in 1948 and had served in Montgomery till 1954.

MARTIN LUTHER KING,Jr. appears(front row, right) in an early photo with his family.


Dr Martin Luther King Jr.’s was named “Michael” when he was born. His father Martin Luther King Sr. who was also called Michael changed their names to Martin after visiting Germany where he was inspired by the Protestant leader Martin Luther.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr.’s first published speech was when he was 15 and a junior in high school. It was titled, “The Negroe and the Constitution”.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the SCLC Office, Atlanta, Georgia, 1966 by Bob Fitch. Courtesy of Bob Fitch Photo Archive Stanford University libraries.

King gained inspiration for his non-violence stance from Indian activist Mahatma Gandhi whom he heard of during a sermon delivered by Dr Mordecai Johnson who had just returned from India.

Martin Luther King Jr. with his sister Christine King Farris

King skipped the 9th and 12th grade and started his education at Morehouse College when he was 15. He joined the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and graduated in 1948 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.

King was arrested 30 times and charged with everything including speeding and acts of civil disobedience.

MARTIN LUTHER KING,Jr. appears(front row, right) in an early photo with his family.

Kings mother Alberta Williams King was also shot and killed in 1974 while playing the organ at church in Atlanta. 23-year-old Marcus Wayne Chenault who shot her said: “all Christians are my enemies”.  

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the Freedom March on Washington in 1963.

The iconic August 28, 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech delivered by Dr Martin Luther King Jr. was not the original speech prepared by his lawyer, speechwriter and confidant Clarence B. Jones. He spoke off the cuff.


Written by How Africa

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