Explore 8 must-know facts about Martin Luther King Jr.

One of the most well-known individuals in American history, Martin Luther King Jr. is renowned for his support of social justice and racial equality as well as for his leadership in the civil rights movement

One of the most well-known individuals in American history, Martin Luther King Jr. is renowned for his support of social justice and racial equality as well as for his leadership in the civil rights movement

One of the most well-known individuals in American history, Martin Luther King Jr. is renowned for his support of social justice and racial equality as well as for his leadership in the civil rights movement. We must comprehend the man who inspired the movement as we pay tribute to his legacy. These are 10 facts about Martin Luther King Jr. that you should know

1. Did not plan on becoming a pastor

Dr. King was a stellar student and hailed from an educated household. He started at Morehouse College, where his grandparents and father had already gone when he was fifteen. On the other hand, unlike his father, the young Martin had no intention of becoming a preacher. 

He pursued studies in law and medicine. Theologian and Morehouse president Dr. Benjamin Mays, who was also his mentor, had a change of heart. King attended seminary after graduating, earning a Bachelor of Divinity before attending Boston University to pursue a PhD in systematic theology.

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2. Influenced by Mahatma Gandhi

Dr. King, like Mahatma Gandhi, is well-known for advocating nonviolent protest and nonviolent education. Those who knew the Indian activist well, including Mordecai Wyatt Johnson, told him about her. Johnson was among the most significant religious figures of the day.

King heard Johnson talk about Gandhi in Philadelphia in 1950. After being profoundly affected, Dr. King started reading up on Gandhi. King and other students were also taught by Howard Thurman, a Boston University professor, on Gandhi’s ideas.

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3. The Civil Rights Movement started due to a bus boycott

Rosa Parks was detained in Alabama in 1955 when she refused to give up her bus seat to a White man. Promptly, the NAACP and others called for a boycott of buses. Dr. King, who was 26 years old at the time, co-founded the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), which planned a 13-month boycott. 

Pushing back, the authorities even fined Black cab drivers for transporting bus boycotters. The MIA responded by setting up carpools. King’s house was bombed and he got death threats. The Supreme Court declared segregated busing to be illegal in November of 1956. 

Rosa Parks, King, and the campaign gained international recognition as a result of the boycott’s successful planning, nonviolent approach, and tenacity.

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4. Had been arrested 30 times

King encountered several obstacles as a result of his activity and resistance to White supremacy. The King Center claims that he was taken into custody thirty times. His numerous arrests and convictions for infractions including speeding, loitering, and violating police orders are documented by the King Institute at Stanford. 

Following his incarceration in 1963 during the Birmingham campaign, which involved marches and sit-ins against racism in Alabama, he penned one of his most well-known compositions, ‘Letter From Birmingham Jail.’ Lacking paper, he started writing on the scraps that were provided to him and in the newspaper margins until his attorneys could get him a proper pad of paper. Eight days later, King was set free.

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5. Assassination attempt in 1958

King was slain in 1968, but a woman attempted to kill him at a book signing ten years prior. The incident is explained on History.com. At the age of 29, King was signing copies of Stride Toward Freedom, a book that detailed the Montgomery Bus Boycott. With a seven-inch penknife, a Black lady severed the line and stabbed him in the chest. 

King maintained his composure as many around him struggled to make decisions. Should I remove or leave the knife in place? The decision to leave it in was wise since King’s major artery was dangerously near to the point of the blade. He said that the incident confirmed his conviction of nonviolence when he underwent surgery at the hospital and recovered well.

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6. ‘I Have A Dream’

One of the most well-known speeches in history is Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream‘ address. Although King had mentioned hope for his children in previous talks, the sentence had never struck a chord with the crowd. King wanted the speech at the March on Washington to be flawless because the stakes were very high. 

The initial draft of the speech was written by King’s aides Stanley Levison and Clarence Jones, who then reviewed the remaining portions with King’s close group. The final version does not include the line ‘I have a dream.’ Jones paid close attention and heard the first seven paragraphs read aloud on the day of the speech.

Then, after giving an earlier performance, gospel singer Mahalia Jackson said, ‘Tell ’em about the dream, Martin!’ King glanced up, pushed aside the printed papers, and spoke without preparation. The speech’s most striking and impactful refrain, which would be shortened to represent the address as a whole, was created on the spot.

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7. FBI’s eye on King

J. Edgar Hoover, the infamous head of the FBI, had little use for Martin Luther King Jr. In 1955, they started looking into him since he was the driving force behind the Montgomery bus boycott. Hoover thought the activist was influenced by communists. When King came out against the Vietnam War in 1967 and denounced the FBI in 1964, the organization’s animosity only intensified.

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8. The ‘three evils’ of society

In a speech that is still resonant today, Dr. King condensed his opinions on society’s issues in a 1967 National Conference on New Politics address. He characterizes racism as a ‘corrosive evil that will bring down the curtain on Western civilization,’ and it was the first issue. 

He associates excessive materialism with poverty as the second. He claims that America is at a turning point where it must decide between humanism—such as providing for children’s healthcare and education—and materialism, such as fancy vehicles and five-star hotels.

Dr. King claimed that if we examine Vietnam, militarism—the last evil—becomes evident. This speech, which was delivered the year before Dr. King passed away, is a great summary of his most important—and radical—beliefs.

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About Wrighter

Wrighter covers news across the global on Human Rights, Migrants Rights, and Labor Rights. Wrighter has vast experience in writing and is a doctor by profession.

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