Martin Luther King is the only private U.S. citizen that wasn’t ever an elected official to have a national holiday designated in his name. Today we remember a man who believed in the equality of all men and who passionately dedicated his life to the peaceful resolution of civil right’s issues. Martin Luther King, Jr. will always be remembered for his strong commitment to non-violent activism and the increased awareness of America’s struggle for civil rights. Here are 5 fun facts about Martin Luther King, Jr. that you may not know, but probably should!
- Don’t Move Over Rosa! Martin Luther King was the public voice for the Montgomery bus boycott. In December of 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama, which ultimately led to her arrest. Martin Luther King, Jr., although relatively unknown at this time, was asked to organize the 385-day bus boycott. The situation of course became quite tense, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s house was eventually bombed at one point. In the end, however, the U.S. District Court ruled to end racial segregation.
- Gandhi Is My Hero! Many infamous folks inspired Martin Luther King, Jr.; including, Jesus, Abe Lincoln, Benjamin Mays, Hosea Williams and Henry David Thoreau. One of Dr. King’s greatest sources of inspiration, however, came from the teachings of Mohandas Gandhi. Dr. King was so inspired by the non-violent activist teachings of Gandhi that he later went to India himself to further his understanding.
- I Have a Dream! This infamous speech may have been a classic case of winging it and was largely improvised, being truly inspired in the moment. According to sources, Martin Luther King Jr. was so busy during this time that even 12 hours prior to his appointed speech time, he still wasn’t sure what he was going to say. This infamous and galvanizing speech not only electrified many that day but has gone on to be heard and recognized by many in subsequent generations as his most inspiring.
- That’s Just One Opinion. Apparently while in seminary school, Martin Luther King Jr. got a “C” from one of his professors in public speaking. (We’re not sure what it must have taken to get an “A”) Dr. King’s father was a preacher and had held extremely high hopes for his son’s public speaking abilities. Fortunately, by Dr. King’s senior year, he was not only the school valedictorian, but he also had all “A’s”.
- So Wise, So Young. When Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize, he was the youngest person to ever have received it, at the time being just 35 years old. During his acceptance speech for the prize, Martin Luther King uttered this infamous quote. “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”