Martin Luther King Junior was an American pastor, activist, and humanitarian. He is known for his positive role in the development of civil rights. Martin Luther King was a leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement and became one of the most important figures in the Civil Rights Movement. Here are 15 facts about Martin Luther King Junior you can tell your kids.
Interesting Facts and Information About Martin Luther King Jr. for Children
- Martin Luther King was born to African-American parents in the year 1929 in the United States of America. Many people don’t know that his given name was not really Martin Luther King. He was born as Michael King. However, later on, his father changed his name to Martin Luther king.
- Martin Luther King in his childhood attended Booker T. Washington High School. In the course of his education, he skipped ninth and twelfth grade. At the mere age of 15, he got admitted to Morehouse College even without any formal high school graduation degree. In the year 1948, he graduated with a degree in Sociology.
- Martin Luther King Jr. acquired his Doctorate in systematic theology from Boston University in the year 1955.
- He saw a pathetic life for African-American people while growing up. The law of ‘segregation’, also known as ‘Jim Crow Laws’ in the southern part of the United States that separated the black people from the white people. Black people had different schools and toilets. Sections of buses were reserved for white people. Black people also didn’t have suffragette. These discriminations affected him greatly.
- Martin Luther King was unfortunate enough to have experienced segregation at the age of 6 when his white friend’s father stopped his son from playing with him. These experiences of discrimination led young Martin to work deeply for the cause of black people.
- Do you know Martin Luther King’s history of becoming a leader and activist? Martin Luther King emerged as a civil rights activist following the arrest of the African-American woman Rosa Parks who refused to offer her seat to a white man. The incident happened in the year 1955 and Martin Luther King urged the African American community to channel their outrage through a collective outcome by boycotting the bus services of the city.
- Once Martin Luther King and his fellow activists started the protests to secure equal rights for African-American people, and then King’s home was under attack. Legal action was then taken against the city ordinance by the activists.
- Martin Luther King and African-American civil rights activists protested for 381 days before the court of law finally ruled out the segregation law. During these protests, Luther King followed the path of Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi and urged the activists to demonstrate peaceful protests even when they were met with violence demonstrated by the police.
- Martin Luther King is extremely famous for his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech through which he urged America to make the promises of democracy real. This speech was delivered in front of 2,50,000 people at a famous rally at Washington DC called ‘The March on Washington’. It is one of the most observed speeches in history.
- Martin Luther King did not limit his activism to only African-American civil rights. He talked about other forms of oppressions including poverty. He also took a firm stance against the Vietnam War.
- Martin Luther King was a part of so many protests and was jailed 30 times. This affected his health and he could not recover later on.
- His time spent in prison did not go in vain. He wrote a long treatise called ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ while he was jailed in Birmingham for 8 days. It addressed then oppression induced by white religious leaders of the South.
- Martin Luther King won the Nobel Peace Prize in October 1964. However, King was bedridden at that time suffering from extreme exhaustion.
- Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968, a tragic end for someone who fought for human rights all his life. He was standing at the balcony of a hotel in Tennessee when he was shot. The man convicted for his murder, James Earl Ray, spent half his life inside the jail claiming that he was innocent.
- A statue was built in his memory in Washington DC, which is known as Martin Luther King’s memorial. Every year the 3rd Monday in January is celebrated as ‘Martin Luther King Jr. Day’, an American federal holiday.
These were some facts about Martin Luther King Junior. These facts cover will help you tell your kids about Martin Luther’s early life, education, and his role as a civil rights activist. Many African-American children look up to him as an idol who taught them how to fight for their rights. Read these facts to your kids to teach him about this great man.