Since 1986, the third Monday of each January marks the national holiday to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. King fought against racial discrimination, poverty and the Vietnam War until his assassination on April 4, 1968.
But, how much do you really know about this civil rights activist and theologian?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a vegetarian, a fan of the original Star Trek television series from 1966 and is the influence behind U2’s song “Pride (In the Name of Love)”.
King and his father were both born with the first name Michael, but later changed each of their first names to Martin.
“I Have a Dream…”
King is notably admired for his “I Have a Dream” speech delivered in 1963. But can you complete the entire infamous sentence that is quoted by educators and historians?
The sentence is:
“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.”
Honored in 1964
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was honored as “Time” magazine’s Man of the Year in 1964, just one year after delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C..
1964 was an incredible year for King: He was also presented with the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway. King vowed to use the $54,000 prize money to further the civil rights movement.
Congregation over Students
After earning a doctorate from Boston University in systematic theology in 1955, King passed up opportunities to teach. Instead he chose to continue leading a congregation at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.
King was often targeted by the public. In 1956 his home was bombed while he was speaking at a meeting. King’s wife Coretta and infant daughter Yolanda were not injured.
Two years after the bombing, King was stabbed in the chest with a 7-inch letter opener at a book signing in Harlem, New York.
King–at age 39–was assassinated on April 4, 1968 while standing on a hotel balcony in Memphis.
Sources and Suggested Further Reading:
mlkonline.com; Martin Luther King Biography and Quick Facts; Clayborne Carson. The Martin Luther King Research and Education Institute; Speeches and Sermons; Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project.