Today, January 20, Americans are marking the Martin Luther King Day. The day is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of January.

It celebrates the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr who was an influential American civil rights leader.

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Major life facts: Martin Luther King Jr

There is confusion for many people between two phenomenon figures in history, Martin Luther the great German philosopher and theologies who disputed the Catholic faith the lead in formation of protestant churches in 1507 and Martin Luther King Junior the civil rights leader.

Martin Luther King Jr was born on January 15, 1929. His birth name was Michael King Jr, a son of a pastor from Atlanta Georgia.

Having traveled during his studies in theology, his father changed him from Michael King when he was five and he became Martin Luther King Jr.

Interesting facts about MLK you probably did not know

1. He was a gifted child

In 1944, at only 15 years of age, Martin Luther joined college. He skipped grade 9 and 12 and was admitted to Morehouse College. He had not intended to follow in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great grandfather, all who were Baptist ministers but was Benjamin E. Mays, the president of Morehouse College convinced him after graduating in sociology.

2. Education

King graduated from Pennsylvania’s Crozier Theology Seminary with a degree in divinity. He joined Boston University where he did his post graduate studied and received PhD degree in 1955 following his final year dissertation paper on A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman.

3. Speeches at Lincoln Memorial Park

Most people think that I have a dream speech was the only speech given in Washington by MLK. Six years before the great march, he gave a speech, in the shadows of Great Emancipator on May 17, 1957 to a group of about 20,000 people. It is his speech on right to vote that gave him the national audience that would lead to I have a Dream speech.

4. He was arrested over 30 times

In reference to King center records, Luther had been arrested 29 times during the struggle for civil rights. Most of the arrests were on civil disobedience. In 1956, he was arrested for over speeding, driving at 45km/h on a 35km/h road in Montgomery Alabama.

5. Foretold his own death

Two days before Dr. King was killed, he gave a speech in Memphis in April 1968 where he was supporting black garbage workers. In his speech at Mason Temple Church he said:

“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now … I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

 Martin Luther King Jr best quotes

 1.”Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”- Letter from Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963

2. “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.”- Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Oslo, Norway, 1964.

3. “For when people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.” –“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, April 3, 1968

4.”The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” –Strength to Love, 1963

5.”Intelligence plus character, that is the goal of true education.”  “The Purpose of Education” from Mourhouse College student newspaper, The Maroon Tiger, 1947

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