7 things that you may not know about Martin Luther King
1) King’s birth name was Michael, not Martin.
The civil rights leader was born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929. In 1934, however, his father traveled to Germany and became inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. As a result, King Sr. changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.
2) According to the King Center, the civil rights leader went to jail nearly 30 times.
3) In 1956, the King’s home was bombed, in response to his involvement with the Montgomery Bus Boycott the year before. Though his wife and first born daughter were home at the time, no one, thankfully, was injured.
4) He 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,” in Blumstein’s department store 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.
5) He was under surveillance by the FBI for years
6) Though he died at only age 39, medical autopsy revealed that his heart was like a 60 yr. old, thought mostly to be due to stress.
7) Dr. King was the author of many books and famous speeches. He is known as one of the greatest communicators of all time. It is known that one of his most memorable speeches, I Have a Dream, was improvised at the end when he left the prepared text in response to gospel singer Mahalia Jackson’s cry, “Tell them about the dream Martin”