→ Did you know that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born Michael King Jr.? His parents named him after his father Rev. Michael King, who was the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Later, his father Michael senior changed his name and his young son’s name from Michael to Martin Luther, after the German Protestant leader.
→ Did you know King comes from a succession of pastors? From 1914 to 1931; his grandfather was the pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, then he became co-pastor with his father. In 1960, after giving a trial sermon to the congregation at Ebenezer at 19, King was ordained as a minister.
→ Did you know that King graduated from high school at 15? After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School, King went to Morehouse College and received his Bachelor of Art degree in 1948. King was a legacy at Morehouse. Both his grandfather and father both attended the distinguished university. From there, King studied for three years at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. He made history when the student body elected him president of the predominantly white senior class. From his hard work and due diligence, King was awarded a fellowship at Crozer and enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University. He completed his residency for his doctorate in 1953 and received the degree in 1955. While in Boston, he met the love of his life Coretta Scott and married her and had two sons and two daughters.
→ Did you know in 1954, King became pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama? Founded in 1877, Dexter was originally called the Second Colored Baptist Church. Congregants met in a hall that was used as a slave trader’s pen until 1885, when the first worship service was held in the basement of the future church. In 1889, they first service was conducted in the sanctuary and renamed the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. While at Dexter, King began his first full-time pastorship and became president of the Montgomery, Alabama Association and led his congregation and the African American community during the Montgomery bus boycott. The bus boycott lasted an astonishing 382 days. On December 21, 1956, the Supreme Court of the United States declared that segregation of public transport was unconstitutional.
Unfortunately, during the boycott King endured police brutality, 20 unlawful arrests, physical and verbal abuse, and his family home was bombed. Although saturated with trials and tribulations, King emerged victorious as a countryman.
→ Did you know that during King’s travels over 11 years, he traveled six million miles? While traveling those six million miles, King spoke over 2,500 times. Whenever or wherever injustice was observed King sprung forth with protest and action. Simultaneously, King authored five books and wrote numerous articles. Between 1957 and 1968, he led the legendary protest movement in Birmingham, Alabama, and was subjected to jail time. During his time in jail, King penned his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” This was his manifesto of the African American revolution. His “Letter from Birmingham Jail” caught the attention of fellow Americans. His determination for peace and equality inspired him to organize the peaceful march on Washington, D.C. Nearly 250,000 people attended to bear witness as he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
→ Did you know that at 35, King was the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize? Not only was King a man of deep conviction, but he was also humble. Instead of taking home the prize money of $54,123, he used the money to further the civil rights movement.