23 Amazing Facts About Martin Luther King Junior that Will Leave You Wonder

Welcome little fact-lovers, to take a look at the life of one of the most prominent leaders of the famous Civil Rights Movement in America, Martin Luther King Junior😲!

With a powerful legacy and inspirational personality to be one of the most significant non-violent civil rights activists, this famous person has several important facts to offer!

This article will offer some fascinating facts about Martin Luther King Junior that will leave you surprised😲! 

Let’s begin this fascinating exploration!

Interesting Facts About Martin Luther King Junior

Dr. King changed his first name: After being inspired by Martin Luther

Dr. King Changed His First Name

I am quite amazed to know this interesting fact about Dr. King’s name!

Dr. King’s father traveled to Germany in the year 1929. 

He became inspired by Martin Luther, a Protestant Reformation leader… so much so that he changed his first name as well as his five-year-old son’s name. 

He changed his son’s name from Michael to Martin and added Luther as a middle name😲.

Mahatma Gandhi: Dr. King was inspired by him

Mahatma Gandhi, who struggled and fought for Indian Independence from the rule of the British using nonviolent methods, had quite a strong influence on Dr. King.

In 1959, he visited India, eleven years after the assassination of Gandhi.

King even wrote a short story about that trip called “My Trip to the Land of Gandhi.”

Dr. King: He was born and raised in Georgia

Dr. King was born on January 15, in 1929. His words and actions left a mark on the history and culture of America!

Born and raised in Georgia, he went to segregated schools 🏛️. 

Both his grandfather and father served as pastors in Ebenezer Baptist Church. 

Also, starting in 1960, Dr. King himself was the associate pastor at Ebenezer. 

He even served on the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or NAACP

Graduation: Dr. King graduated from high school at the age of 15

Dr. King's Graduation

Did you know this amazing fact about Dr. King??

In 1944, at the age of 15, Dr. King graduated from high school. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from Morehouse College 🏛️.

According to the King’s Institute, King wrote that “My days in college were very exciting ones.” “The professors were not caught up in clutches of the funds of the state and could teach what they wanted with academic freedom.”

In 1951, he was awarded a Bachelor of Divinity from Crozer Theological Seminary of Pennsylvania. In 1955, he received a Ph.D. from Boston University.

Henry David Thoreau: The inspiration of both Dr. King and Mahatma Gandhi 

Both Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King were influenced by a 19th century American essayist and philosopher, Henry David Thoreau. 

He wrote about his philosophy of civil disobedience in a famous essay called “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience.”

Dr. King: He was kicked out of the first grade

Have you heard this amazing secret about Dr. King’s life? No? Let me explain.

At the age of 5, Dr. King enrolled in first grade. However, the age was too young according to the entry requirements of the school, so his teacher 👨‍🏫expelled him.

Several years later, due to his academic achievements📚, he could skip both the ninth and 12th grades.

Dr. King held two pastorates

Dr. King Held Two Pastorates

I am quite amazed to know the fact that Dr. King held two pastorates!

While completing his doctoral dissertation, he was appointed pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church⛪, in Montgomery, Alabama.

In 1960, he resigned from the role and wanted to dedicate more of his time to civil rights!

He served as a local pastor by partnering with his father at the church of his childhood, Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Dr. King: The only American other than George Washington, whose birthday is a national holiday

Martin Luther King Jr. Day turned to be an officially observed holiday for banks, schools, and federal offices across the country in 1986. 

This made him the first non-president whose birthday has become a national holiday. 

However, it took a while for the country’s all 50 states to get on board with giving proper honor to the activist!

South Carolina was the final state that officially observed the national holiday in 2000.

He was always a natural in front of a crowd

I am quite surprised to explore this wonderful fact about Dr. King!

His public-speaking talents date back to his teenage years. 

At that time, he won an oratory contest in Georgia for delivering a speech on a topic when he was a teen. The title of the topic was “The Negro and the Constitution.”

According the Martin Luther King Junior Research and Education Institute at Stanford, he highlighted the contradictory nature of the US Constitution in the context of discrimination.

Dr. King was passionate for fighting for racial justice from a young age

Dr. King's Fight For Racial Justice

In the Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Dr. King recalled his first personal experience with segregation and racism.

As a child🧒, his white friend didn’t want to play with him anymore.

He depicted this betrayal as the time he first became interested in fighting against racism! Quite amazing!! Right?

Dr. King worked for a newspaper

Dr. King, from an early age, had established paper📰 route! Quite impressive, isn’t it?

His work ethic allowed him to get promotion, and only at the age 13, he turned out to be the youngest assistant manager for the Atlanta Journal delivery station.

 He wasn’t inspired to become a minister until college

Did you know this interesting fact about Dr. King? No!! Let me explain.

Dr. King didn’t always think about following his father’s footsteps and becoming a minister! Surprising, right?

However, according to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford, after he participated in a bible course with Dr. George D. Kelsey, he got inspiration to use ministry as a proper medium for social justice and racial reform!

Coretta Scott: Meet Dr. King’s wife

Dr. King’s Wife

On June 18, 1953, Dr. King married Coretta Scott 👰‍♀️on the lawn of her mother’s house, located in Marion, Alabama!

They meet through a mutual friend just the year before the marriage, and were for married for 15 years!

They had four children, called Yolanda, Dexter, Martin Luther King III, and Bernice.

The birthplace of Dr. King: Guests can tour the area

I am really surprised to know this surprising secret about Dr. King! Want to know??

Guests can tour the birthplace of Dr. King at 501 Auburn Avenue, which is located in Atlanta’s residential section, “Sweet Auburn.”

The was the home of Dr. King’s maternal grandparents, and he resided there for around the first twelve years of his life.

Dr. King’s remains: These were carried by mules to the cemetery

Upon the death of this world-famous activist, Dr. King, his remains were carried in a farm wagon. 

It was drawn by mules to Southview Cemetery⚰️, which is the oldest African-American cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia!

In the year 1970, remains of Dr. King were removed from Southview Cemetery. 

Then, the remains were placed in a family crypt, at the King Center, faced with Georgia marble!

Dr. King: He allegedly attempted suicide

Dr. King Attempted Suicide

I cannot believe this alleged secret about this significant activist and inspiring leader!

As per Biography reports, Dr. King allegedly tried to kill himself when he was just 12 years old! 

While he was attending a parade against the wishes of his family, his grandmother died, and King felt so guilty that he threw himself from a second-story window!

At the age of 19 King became a minister

Being quite serious about his intended path, Dr. King became an ordained Baptist minister at the age of just 19. 

In the year 1948, he enrolled at Crozer Theological Seminary!

At Crozer, he was considered one of the best orators of the 20th century, and he even earned a “C” in public speaking during his first year.

However, later, in 1951, he graduated as a valedictorian with a straight “A.” Quite impressive, isn’t it?

Sports and Dr. King: He was an avid pool player

Love sports?? Then you will definitely love to explore this sporty side of Dr. King!

Though he emerged and became famous as a civil rights leader and minister, he also enjoyed some fun hobbies. 

One of the most interesting secret about Martin Luther King is that he loved playing pool!

He even became quite a formidable player of this exciting gamer during college!

Rosa Park’s Arrest: After this incident, Dr. King officially entered the Civil Rights Movement

Dr. King in Civil Rights Movement

Dr. King first emerged as a notable leader of the civil rights movement in 1955. 

During that time, a famous activist, 42-year-old Rosa Parks 👩refused to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus in Montgomery! This brave stand resulted in a huge bus boycott throughout the city!

Black leaders and groups, including Dr. King supported Parks. 

At that time King was only 26 years of age and elected as the president of MIA or Montgomery Improvement Association.

His strong support of the boycott turned him into a national figure!!

He was arrested for at least thirty times

Did you know this surprising fact about Dr. King? Let us take a look.

Dr. King was arrested at least thirty times! Can you imagine??

He was arrested for his direct involvement with various civil rights actions. 

For instance, on July 27, 1962, he was arrested and jailed, for holding a prayer vigil in Albany, Georgia!

Noe quite a year later, on April 12, 1963, King was jailed in Birmingham, Alabama!

While being confined there, King wrote the famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

Later, this writing was published as a pamphlet distributed by the American Friends Service Committee!

A period of 11 year: The bulk of Dr. King’s civil rights work happened during the time

The bulk of King’s work took place during only a time period of 11-year. 

During that time, he traveled more than six million miles, delivered over twenty-five hundred speeches or talks, and wrote five books, as well as numerous articles!

Dr. King in 1964: He was awarded the Nobel Prize

Dr. King Was Awarded The Nobel Prize

I am very impressed by learning this fascinating fact about Dr. King!

In the year 1964, Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize🥇 for his struggle for civil rights for the Afro-American people!!

At the time, he was just thirty-five, making him the youngest man to ever receive this honor!

Dr. King donated his Nobel Prize money of around $554,123, to the furtherance of the civil rights movement!!

Dr. King was under heavy FBI surveillance for several years

Dr. King Was Under Heavy FBI Surveillance

Have you heard this unsettling fact about Dr. King?

As a prominent civil rights leader, Dr. King became the focus of intense FBI surveillance!

According to NPR, FBI bugged King’s hotel rooms when he traveled, and even paid informants to spy on him.

Even in 1964, the FBI sent an anonymous letter to King suggesting him to commit suicide! Comparing King with Henry VIII👑, referencing King’s many extramarital affairs. 

They had discovered this through years of surveillance, the FBI suggested the civil rights leader to commit suicide within 34 days!

Summing up

So little fact lovers, now you a lot about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.!!

We have tried to collect as much information about him as possible…so that your treasure of knowledge is enhanced.

Hope you liked our efforts😲!!

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