This is the 90th birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., native of Atlanta, who became one of the most important figures in the civil rights movement. While it is impossible to integrate everything that King has achieved into a mere list, we have compiled some intriguing facts that might interest you in learning more about the man who has contributed to uniting a divided nation.
. 1 Martin Luther King was not his first name.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. arrives in London in 1961.
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One of the best-known proper names of the 20th century was actually not on the birth certificate. The future leader of civil rights was born January 15, 1929 as Michael King Jr. and named after his father Michael King. When the younger king was five years old, his father decided to change both names after learning more about 16th-century theologian Martin Luther, who was one of the key figures in the Protestant Reformation. Inspired by this battle, Michael King began calling himself and his son Martin Luther King.
. 2 He was a doctor of theology.
Dr. On November 14, 1967, King received an honorary doctorate from Newcastle University in England. He had a doctorate in theology in 1955.
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Using the "doctor" purpose King has become a reflex, but not everyone knows the origin of King's Ph.D. He attended Boston University and received his doctorate in systematic theology in 1955. King also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Morehouse College and a Bachelor of Divinity from Crozer Theological Seminary.
. 3 He made 30 trips to jail.
A telegram from boxer Muhammad Ali was sent to an incarcerated dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sent. 1967.
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A powerful voice for an ignored and oppressed minority. The opponents tried to silence King in an old-fashioned way: imprisonment. In the 12 years he spent as a recognized leader of the Civil Rights Movement, King was arrested and imprisoned 30 times. Instead of brooding, King took advantage of the unwanted downtime to promote his cause. Imprisoned in Birmingham for eight days in 1963, he wrote "Letter from Birmingham Jail," a long essay that responded to the oppression supported by white religious leaders in the South.
"I'm afraid it takes too long your precious time," he wrote. "I can assure you that it would have been a lot shorter if I had written from a comfortable desk, but what else is there when you spend days alone in the boring monotony of a narrow prison cell, not writing long letters? strange thoughts and pray long prayers? "
4. The FBI tried to force him to commit suicide.
Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King led a black election march by Selma, Alabama, to the capital Montgomery in March 1965.
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King's growing importance and influence excited many of his enemies, but few were mightier than FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. For years, Hoover King was under surveillance, fearing that this subversive might influence public opinion against the bureau and annoy that King may have communist attachments. While there is still some debate on how independent Hoover's deputy William Sullivan acted, in 1964 an anonymous letter was sent to King accusing him of extra-marital affairs and threatening to disclose his indiscretions. The only solution the letter proposed was that King leave the civil rights movement, either voluntarily or through his own life. King ignored the threat and continued his work.
. 5 One sneeze could have changed history forever.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at a press conference in September 1964 in London.
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Our collective memory of King has always had an unfortunate addendum: his 1968 assassination brought an end to his personal crusade against social injustice. If it had gone to Izola Ware Curry, King's mission would have ended ten years ago. At the signing of a Harlem book in 1958, Ware approached King and thrust a seven-inch letter opener into his chest, almost puncturing his aorta. To remove it, surgery was required. Had King sneezed so much, the doctors said, the wound was so close to his heart that it would have been fatal. Curry, a 42-year-old black woman, had paranoid delusions about the NAACP, which soon crystallized around King. She was admitted to an institution and died in 2015.
6. In public, he received a "C".
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks in May 1966 to a meeting in Chicago, Illinois.
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The king's promise as one of the great orators of his day came too late. During the visit of Crozer Theological Seminary from 1948 to 1951, King's notes were watered down in two public phrases around classes C and C +.
. 7 He won a Grammy.
In 1971, at the 13th Annual Grammy Awards in 1971, a shot of King's address from 1967 titled "Why I Reject the War in Vietnam" took home a posthumous Best Spoken Word Award. In 2012, his speech "I Have a Dream" from 1963 was included in the Grammy Hall of Fame (recorded decades later because her 1969 nomination was beaten by Rod McKuen's "Lonesome Cities" for the price of the spoken word).
8. He loved Star Trek .
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One can not easily imagine that King has the time or inclination to watch primetime sci-fi on television, but according to actress Nichelle Nichols, King and his family made an exception for Star Trek . In 1967, actress King, who told her that he was a big fan, asked her to rethink her decision to leave the show on Broadway.
"My family are your biggest fans," Nichols recalled King. and said he continued, "Actually, this is the only show on TV that my wife Coretta and I will allow our little kids to watch, get up and watch because it's over after bedtime." Nichols & # 39; s character by Lt. Uhura, he said, was important because she was a strong, professional black woman. If Nichols went, the character could be replaced by anyone, since "[Uhura] is not a black roll, and it's not a female role." Due to their conversation, Nichols decided to stay on the show for the duration of his three-year original run.
. 9 He spent his wedding night in a funeral home.
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s wife, Coretta Scott King, and their four children Yolanda (8), Martin Luther King III (6), Dexter (3) and Bernice (11 months) in February 1964.
Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images
When King married his wife Coretta Scott in her father's backyard in 1953, there was virtually no hotel in Marion, Alabama where a newlywed black couple would be welcome. A friend of Coretta happened to be a mortician, inviting the kings to sleep in one of the guest rooms in his funeral home.
10th Ronald Reagan declined a royal holiday.
President Lyndon B Johnson discusses with the civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. 1965.
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Despite King's undeniable value, MLK Day was not a given. In the early 1980s, President Ronald Reagan largely ignored the plea that passed a law that would allow holiday officials to worry about other minority groups claiming their own vacation. Senator Jesse Helms complained that the lost working day could cost the country $ 12 billion in lost productivity, and both were worried about King's possible Communist sympathies. Common sense prevailed, and the law came into force on November 2, 1983. The holiday was officially recognized in January 1986.
. 11 We could see him on the $ 5 bill – someday.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC
In 2016, the US Treasury announced plans to expand its key currency denominations from 2020 to revise. Along with Harriet Tubman, who adorned the $ 20 bill, the plan planned the back of Lincoln's 5 stamped bill to commemorate "historic events taking place at the Lincoln Memorial," including the famous 1963 King's Speech. However, in April 2018, the Trump administration announced that these plans had been shelved and that the bills would be delayed for at least six years.
12th One of Kings volunteers went away with a piece of history.
Over 200,000 people gather around the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, where the civil rights march of 1963 in Washington ended with Martin Luther King's speech" I Have A Dream. "
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The 1963 speech of the King of the Stairs of the Lincoln Memorial, known as "I have a Dream," will always be remembered as one of the most provocative public addresses ever held, George Raveling, who was then 26 years old volunteered to help King and his team during the event, and when it was over, Raveling King embarrassed to ask for a copy of the three-way speech, King handed it over without hesitation, Raveling kept it for the next 20 years understood the meaning of the book and removed it from the book in which he kept it.
He rejected bids of up to $ 3.5 million, insisting that the document should be in his possession Family would remain – always noting that the most famous passage on which King describes his dream of a united nation is not on the bed. It was improvised.
A version of this story first appeared in 2017.