Written By Kimberly Hairston-Hicks - January 18 2020
KEEP THE DREAM ALIVE!
On Friday, my niece Kennady was introduced to the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by her first-grade teacher. She could not wait to come home to tell her dad, grandmother, and anyone else who would listen to what she had learned. When my mom sent me the video of her doing the Dr. King's, "I HAVE A DREAM" Speach, I had to share. For a six-year-old, I am amazed by how she was able to capture the essence of his speech. On Monday, January 20, we will celebrate Martin Luther King (MLK) Day and while I thought I knew a lot about the late civil rights leader, my niece inspired me to go even deeper to learn more.
Here are the Top 10 facts that I didn't know about
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Like Mike: Dr. King was born Michael, and loved ones called him Mike. King Sr. developed an appreciation for the first Protestant after his father's visit to Germany. Though his wife called him Martin, to the rest of his immediate family he was referred to as Mike.
Emotionally torn: Dr. King attempted suicide when he was 12 years old after his grandmother died of a heart attack at their home. He was supposed to be home with her, but instead snuck out to see a parade, against his parents’ wishes. When King returned and learned that his grandma had passed, he went upstairs and then, jumped from a second story window.
A brilliant mind: Martin Luther King Jr. skipped the 9th and 12th grades and entered Morehouse College in 1944 at the age of 15. He earned his bachelor's degree in sociology by 19.
Not always non-violent: Dr. King applied for a gun permit to protect his family. Before King was officially committed to non-violence resistance, he applied for a firearms permit during a period when his home and several Montgomery churches were bombed. Later King decided to fully practice what he preached.
For the Culture: In 1964 MLK was 35 and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner. Since then, the prize has been awarded to Malala Yousafzai (age 17, in 2014). King donated the $54,000 prize to the Civil Rights effort.
The First: MLK was the first African American "Man of the Year" in TIME Magazine's 1963 issue. The only other African American man to receive the title was Barack Obama, in 2008.
Jailed 29 times: As an activist Martin Luther King was involved in many protests and was arrested 29 times in his 39 years of life.
Good on any MLK BLVD: There are approximately 900 streets in the United States that are named after Dr. Martin Luther King. Even Italy and Israel has streets named after the civil rights leader.
Happy Birthday to ya: President Reagan made MLK day a national holiday. The first MLK day was celebrated in 1986. Initially, there were many oppositions to the idea, saying another national holiday would be too expensive.
Non-Violence: Six years after Dr. King's assassination, his mother, Alberta Christine Williams King, was shot and killed by a gunman, too. The murderer believed that “all Christians are my enemies” and fatally shot Alberta while she played the organ at church. He would be found guilty and sentenced to death. But, the killer’s sentence was later changed to life in prison because the King family didn’t believe in capital punishment.