5 Things You Don’t Know About MLK


Charli Merrill, Student Life Reporter

Martin Luther King Jr. is the first person we all think of when it comes to the Civil Rights movement. His iconic speeches moved the people of his time and created serious change throughout the entire country. He was so influential to people of all backgrounds, that Ronald Reagan dedicated January 16th to his memory. Though we learn about MLK almost every year in school, you’d be surprised how much you don’t know about his life. 

First, Martin Luther King was always a very bright person. He started college when he was only 15, and was the valedictorian of his class. He also went on to earn a doctorate degree, and was even given over 20 honorary degrees. 

Originally, his given name was Michael King. When King was only five years old, his father went to a church conference and was inspired by the protestant reformer, Martin Luther, and changed his son’s name as well as his own. 

As we all know, MLK was a fierce activist. What you don’t know is that he was sent to jail 29 times. Several were for civil disobedience acts, but he also went to jail for normally inconsequential things, such as driving only 5 miles over the speed limit. 

Many people are convinced King’s last speech predicted his death. In April of 1968, he was in Memphis to support a strike going on there. The most prevalent example in his speech was “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now…. and I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing of any man.” He passed away the following day. 

Clearly, MLK received his fair share of awards. He was the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace prize. A lesser known award he won was a Grammy. His speech called “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam” won the award for best spoken word recording after his death in 1970.