Monday, January 20, 2014

Did You Know...Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Since today is Martin Luther King Day, I decided to step out of the writing/author genre for this week's Did You Know and go in search of some interesting tidbits about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As always, credit goes to Wikipedia where yo can always find a zillion facts on just about anything.

Did you know...

  • He was originally named Michael King, but his father changed it five years later? He was renamed after Martin Luther.
  • He skipped the 9th and 12th grades and began college when he was 15?
  • King was mentored by activist Bayard Rustin? Rustin believed in non-violent activism as practiced by Gandhi and Christian pacifists.
  • King visited India? He went in 1959 and the trip strengthened his conviction that non-violent resistance was the proper path to take.
  • He was stabbed and almost died at a book signing in 1958? A mentally ill black woman stabbed him in the chest with a letter opener.
  • The FBI tapped his phones due to concerns that Communists were trying to infiltrate the civil rights movement?
  • King was arrested 29 times?
  • Part of King's I Have a Dream speech was improvised? 
  • Thee original copy of the speech is owned by George Raveling? He was standing near the podium and asked King if he could have it. Raveling later became the first African-American basketball coach at the University of Iowa.
  • The autopsy conducted after King's assassination noted that he had the heart of a 60 year old? King was only 39, but the condition of his heart indicates the tremendous stress he was under.

Here's a portion of King's "I Have Been to the Mountaintop" speech, which he delivered the night before he was killed.

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