Roots | Martin Luther King, Jr.

Irie Magazine | Roots | MLK - Facts an' T'ings

MLK… Facts an’ T’ings

January 15, 1929

January 15, 2019 marks the 90th birthday of Baptist minister and Social Activist, Martin Luther King, Jr., the prominent voice in the civil rights movement. A champion for advancing civil rights, Martin Luther King, Jr. chose nonviolence and civil disobedience, to address the political and social injustice that African Americans faced on a daily basis.

Facts an’ T’ings

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. wasn’t always Martin Luther King, Jr. In fact, his original birth certificate, dated January 15, 1929, lists his name as Michael King Jr. So why the name change? In 1934, Martin’s father, a pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, traveled to Germany and became inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. Upon his return, he changed his own name as well as that of Martin, who was 5 years old son at the time.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. received his Ph.D. degree in Systematic Theology on June 5, 1955 from Boston University. Martin’s dissertation was titled, “A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman.”

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of only two Americans to have their birthday observed as a federal holiday. On November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed into law, H.R. 3706, the King holiday bill written and introduced by Katie B. Hall, member of the U.S. Representative from Indiana.

    The other American with a national holiday; one of the founding fathers of the United States of America and the nation’s first president, George Washington.

  • In 1944, Martin Luther King, Jr. enrolled at Morehouse College at the age of 15.

    Because he was such a gifted student, he skipped grades nine through twelve to attend the alma mater of his father and maternal grandfather.

  • In April of 1968, the night before his assassination, Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Memphis to support the strike of the city’s black garbage worker. He gave a speech which would ultimately foretell his death.

    “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.”

Irie