Every third Monday in January, the United States honors Martin Luther King, Jr., a minister, an activist, a leader during the civil rights movement, and someone who helped to cement the rights and ideals of the country today. This January 15th would have marked Dr. King’s ninetieth birthday, and we here at Xyza are celebrating him by sharing five interesting facts about his life:
1. Before he became a Martin, he was a Michael. Huh? Well, when he was born, his parents named him Michael Luther King, Jr., but when he was five years old, his father changed his name to Martin. Why? He was inspired by Martin Luther, a theologist (or a person who studies religion) and leader of the Protestant Reformation (or the time when people began to question the Roman Catholic religion).
2. He was a genius! Martin Luther King, Jr. skipped the ninth and twelfth grades and entered college when he was just fifteen years old. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Morehouse College in 1948, his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Crozer Theological Seminary three years later, and obtained his doctorate at Boston University in 1955.
3. George Washington is the only other American leader whose birthday is officially celebrated as a federal holiday. The first Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was commemorated on the third Monday of January in 1986, three years after then President of the United States Ronald Reagan signed a bill that created a federal holiday to honor Dr. King.
4. Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1964. At thirty-five, he was the youngest person to ever be awarded a Nobel Prize at the time. Malala Yousafzai is currently the youngest Nobel Prize winner—she was awarded the Nobel Prize when she was seventeen years old.
5. The “dream” part of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech wasn’t in the official speech. He folded his dream into the existing speech on the fly!
How are you commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? What is your dream?