1. Martin Luther King Jr. was born Michael King Jr., but his father, Michael King Sr., changed both of their names to Martin Luther in honor of the German Protestant leader Martin Luther.
2. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which he delivered at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington in 1963, was not originally planned. King improvised the famous line while speaking.
3. In addition to his work as a civil rights activist, King was also an accomplished musician. He played the piano and organ and often incorporated music into his civil rights work, including organizing freedom concerts.
4. King was not the first choice to lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Several other civil rights leaders, including E.D. Nixon and Ralph Abernathy, were considered for the role before King was selected.
5. In 1964, at the age of 35, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in the civil rights movement.
7. King was arrested 30 times for his participation in civil rights protests and acts of civil disobedience.
8. King was not only a civil rights activist, but also an advocate for economic justice. He organized the Poor People’s Campaign to address issues of poverty and economic inequality.
9. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was not the only time he used the phrase. He also used it in a speech at a high school in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, in 1962.
10. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 39. His assassination prompted widespread outrage and protests, and he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977.