4 Things You Didn’t Know About Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Today we remember the great social justice activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with four little-known facts about his life and legacy.
1. Dr. King was born Michael King, not Martin. Born Michael King Jr., the famous civil rights leader, did not become Martin until he was 5 years old. In 1934 his father traveled to Germany and became inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. After returning home, King Sr. changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.
2. President George Washington and Dr. King are the only Americans whose birthdays are observed as national holidays. President Ronald Reagan signed a bill in 1986 thus creating a federal holiday to honor Dr. King. The holiday was first commemorated that same year and is celebrated on the third Monday in January, just a few days away from Dr. King’s birthday on January 15.
3. In his first year of seminary, Dr. King received a C in public speaking. By his senior year his grade went up to an A and he was the valedictorian of his class, thus giving him the opportunity to give a big public speech at graduation. Proof, that anyone can change their grades!
4. Dr. King was the youngest male in his time to win a Nobel Peace Prize. In 1964 at the age of 35, Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his social justice work.