6 Things You May Not Know About Martin Luther King Jr.
1. King’s birth name was Michael, not Martin.
Martin Luther original name was Michael King Jr. In 1934, however, his father, a Baptist pastor, traveled to Germany and was inspired by the life of Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. He then changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.
2. George Washington is the only other American whose birthday is celebrated as a national holiday.
President Ronald Reagan instituted a federal holiday to honor King in 1983. The holiday, first commemorated in 1986, is celebrated on the third Monday in January, close to the civil rights leader’s January 15 birthday.
3. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech was not his first at the Lincoln Memorial.
Six years before his famous speech at the March on Washington, King was among the civil rights leaders who spoke at the Lincoln Memorial during the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom on May 17, 1957. That day King delivered his first national address on the topic of voting rights. His speech drew strong reviews and positioned him at the forefront of the civil rights.
4. King was imprisoned nearly 30 times.
King went to jail 29 times. He was arrested for acts of civil disobedience and other false charges, such as when he was jailed in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956 for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone.
5. King narrowly escaped an assassination attempt a decade before his death.
On September 20, 1958, King was in Harlem signing copies of his new book, “Stride Toward Freedom,” when he was approached by Izola Ware Curry. The woman asked if he was Martin Luther King Jr. After he said yes, Curry said, “I’ve been looking for you for five years,” and she plunged a seven-inch letter opener into his chest. The tip of the blade came to rest alongside his aorta. After hours of delicate emergency King survived, but surgeons later told him that just one sneeze could have punctured the aorta and killed him.
6. King’s last public speech foretold his death.
Martin Luther King, in a speech on the night before his assassination told an audience at Mason Temple Church: “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now … I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
Best 40 Inspiring Quotes From Martin Luther King Jr.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.” ― Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies. (from “Loving Your Enemies”)” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.” ― Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream
“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.” ― Martin Luther King, Jr
“We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“the time is always right to do the right thing” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” ― Martin Luther King, Jr.
“On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? Conscience asks the question, is it right? There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Lightning makes no sound until it strikes.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.” ― Martin Luther King, Jr.
“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But…the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.