Martin Luther King Jr. is known as one of the most important figures in terms of the civil rights movement. The speeches he made and the actions he took are believed to have been the steps towards the creation of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. Throughout all his life, he strived for achieving his biggest goal, which was to put an end to the discrimination of Afro-Americans living in the US.
His persistence, patience and willingness to achieve what he called his biggest dream didn’t disappear even after the FBI started calling him a communist and traitor of the American lifestyle. Whereas some people despised and didn’t understand him, there were many of those who supported his ideas and were inspired by him.
Today, we decided to gather 9 facts about Martin Luther King Jr. that our readers may not know about. Here they are…
Martin Luther King Jr.: 9 interesting facts about the greatest civil rights leader
1. Martin Luther King never supported the idea of violent resistance
In 1960, Martin Luther King visited India, where he learned more about the ideas and principles of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of Indian resistance fighting against the British rule. An interesting fact about Martin Luther King is that he met Gandhi in person, and the two of them became very good friends. Martin Luther King often said that the philosophy of nonviolence offered by Gandhi was the only acceptable form of resistance.
Since Martin Luther King followed the principle of nonviolence, he preferred boycotts and marches to armed conflicts. One of the most significant marches organized by him was the March on Washington in which more than 500 thousand people of different nations and races participated. It was after this march that Martin Luther King made his most well-known speech “I Have a Dream”.
Truth be told, he personally didn’t give to this speech as much importance as other people did. He believed that the most inspiring of his speeches was the speech “The Resistance Has No Alternative” that he made during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
2. King’s first step in terms of the civil rights movement was the well-known bus-boycott
The boycott occurred as the response to the arrest of Rosa Parks, the black woman who refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white man. The boycott lasted for as many as 385 days and resulted in the end of racial segregation on all the Montgomery buses. This success achieved by Martin Luther King was his first win that made him a well-known spokesman and significant civil rights movement figure.
3. King attempted to kill himself
While Martin Luther King was out watching a parade with his parents, his grandmother died of a heart attack. The death of grandmother Jenny, whom he deeply loved, traumatized him so much that he jumped from the window on the 2nd store of the Kings house. His relatives believed that that was a suicide attempt that luckily failed.
4. He had a different name
The real name of the outstanding resistance leader was Martin King. The change of the name was the initiative of his father, after whom he was named. When on a trip that included visits to several European cities, Martin King Sr. learned more about Martin Luther, the key figure of the Protestant Reformation. Soon after returning home, he changed his own name and the name of his son to that of Martin Luther.
5. He was awarded the Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prize he received in 1964 rewarded his successful efforts to use non-violent methods of protest. The effect his actions had on the rights of poor and suppressed was enormous, including the Acts created in terms of the civil and voting rights.
He stays the youngest person to ever have been awarded the Nobel Prize, an interesting Martin Luther King fact.
6. Martin Luther King loved writing
Throughout his life, he wrote 5 books and lots of articles in which he discussed various issues and topics. One of his most important writings was the Letter from Birmingham Jail that he wrote to further support the idea of non-violent methods that facilitate changes in the life of society. The main thought that he expressed in the letter was that of new legal measures introduction.
7. King was arrested 30 times
Even though Martin Luther King had lots of supporters, there were many of those who tried to stop him and not allow him to spread his ideas. Believe it or not, but he was put to prison for his actions as many as 30 times.
8. Martin Luther King had a couple of powerful enemies
The more influential and significant the figure of Martin Luther King became, the bigger was the number of his enemies. Even though there were quite a lot of them, only a few were powerful. One of them was J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI director, an interesting fact about Martin Luther King. Hoover desperately tried to do everything possible and impossible to silence Martin Luther King. He is believed to have been the one who wrote a letter urging Luther King to stop his activities either voluntarily or by committing suicide. Martin Luther King ignored the threat expressed in the letter and continued his work.
9. Martin Luther King doubted the importance of religion
Even though Martin Luther King was raised in the religious family, he didn’t give much importance to it. He always felt rather uncomfortable when witnessing emotional displays of religious worship.
After getting acquainted with Benjamin Mays, he changed his opinion on religion. Mays, who was promoting the idea of racial equality, helped Luther King understand that Christianity could be a force behind social changes.
In March 1968, Martin Luther King arrived in Memphis to support the workers who, in demand for higher wedges, went on strike. He was shot in his motel room on the 3rd of April 1968. It is still unclear whether his assassination was a planned or spontaneous act.
Even though Martin Luther King is no longer with us, his name will never be forgotten. The changes he brought forever transformed the lives of those he protected.
I hope that this article on Martin Luther King facts was helpful! If you are interested, visit the Historical People Facts Page!