5 Things You Didn't Know About Martin Luther King Jr.

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Here are 5 things you didn't know about this widely respected activist and man of peace...

ADVERTISEMENT

King May Have Predicted His Own Death On the night before his assassination, King traveled to Memphis to give a speech in support of the city’s African American sanitation workers. At Mason Temple Church, he told the crowd, “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.” It was the next day that he was shot and killed.

He is The Only Non-President to Have a National Holiday in His Name In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill that would establish a nationally observed holiday in remembrance of King. He is the only non-president to have received such an honor; the other American to have a holiday commemorated in his name is George Washington. The holiday is celebrated on the third Monday in January, close to MLK’s birthday on January 15. He is also the only non-president with a memorial located on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

ADVERTISEMENT

There Are Approximately 900 Streets Named After MLK in The US There are over 900 streets named after the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.  Following his 1968 assassination, cities around the country began renaming streets to honor him. After his assassination in 1968, cities across the nation began naming and renaming streets in his honor; even countries such as Italy and Israel followed suit.  Nearly 70 percent of those streets are in the South, including North Carolina, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, and Georgia.

He Was Arrested 29 Times Officials looked upon King as a threat even though he was admired by many people, and he was assaulted at least four times and arrested almost 30 times. For example, he was thrown in jail in 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama, for driving 2 mph above the speed limit. An FBI paper trail showed the agency had repeatedly tried to stop King’s progress, and their efforts intensified following his “I Have a Dream” speech.

A Gunman Murdered Reverend King’s Mother Alberta Williams King was killed on June 30, 1974, by a deranged gunman while she was playing the organ during the morning church service. A deacon in the church and another woman were killed as well. The man was convicted, receiving the death penalty sentence, which was later changed to life in prison, partly because King’s family did not believe in capital punishment.