On Monday, we celebrate a social activist and Baptist minister who played a leading role in the American civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for equality and human rights for African Americans through peaceful protest. King is most famous for his role in the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, the 1963 March on Washington, and of course his awe-inspiring “I Have a Dream” speech that filled the nation with hope and promise for a freer America.
Here are some fast facts about the man who advanced civil rights and changed the history of America.
- Martin Luther King Day usually falls on the third Monday in January. This year, it falls on his actual birthday, January 15th.
- King’s real name was Michael, not Martin
- George Washington is the only other American to have had his birthday observed as a national holiday.
- Martin Luther King Jr. was nearly assassinated a decade earlier than his ultimate death.
- King is to date the youngest male to win a Nobel Peace Prize, winning it in 1964 at the age of 35
- King entered college at the age of 15.
- Although King is often remembered as being an exceptional public speaker, he got a C in public speaking during his first year at seminary.
- There are approximately 900 streets named after MLK in the US.
- In his efforts to fight segregation and inequality, King traveled more than six million miles and spoke more than 2,500 times.
- King will be featured on the $5 bill in 2020