12 Interesting Facts about Martin Luther King Jr.
On August 28th 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I have a dream speech” which changed the course of history in the United States. In celebration of this momentous occasion we look at some interesting facts about this inspirational leader.
Here are some interesting facts we’ve managed to find. Do you know any other facts about Martin Luther King Jr.?
- The famous words “I have a dream” were never actually included in the original text of his speech. In fact he revived this phrase from a previous speech that he had given, which had never resonated with his audience. Hard to believe that this iconic phrase was improvised.
- A gospel singer by the name of Mahalia Jackson shouted from the stands “Tell ‘em about the dream, Martin”. As soon as Martin Luther King Jr. heard these words, he moved his written speech aside and all his words from then on were spontaneous.
- His name was originally Michael, in honour of his father, Michael Luther King Sr.
- At the age of 12, it is reported that he tried to commit suicide by jumping from the second story window of his house. He had just learned that his grandmother had died.
- Two people died on the the day that King was assassinated. King was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis in 1968. When Lorraine Bailey, the wife of the owner of the motel, walked in to see him getting shot, she died of a heart attack.
- He was nearly assassinated a decade earlier than his ultimate death. He was on a book tour and was approached by a lady named Izola Ware Curry. She asked if he was indeed Martin Luther King Jr. and when he confirmed this, she took out a letter opener and stabbed him in the chest. It took 3 hours to remove the blade as it was right next to his aorta.
- On the day he was killed, Martin was actually out on the balcony having a cigarette. He tried to hide this habit mostly due to the fact that he didn’t want his children to take up smoking. Also, there was a negative stigma about smoking from within the church.
- He skipped the 9th Grade and 11th Grade at school entering college at the tender age of 15!
- King almost decided against being a minister. He wanted to be a lawyer or a doctor, much to his father’s disapproval. Eventually he accepted the bible and chose to be a minister.
- He spent his honeymoon in a funeral parlour – yes you read correctly! Do you know why?
- King won a Grammy. Yes, a Grammy. This was for the Best Spoken Word Album for “Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam”.
- In the United States there are over 700 streets named after him.