Every year, Americans and people around the world celebrate the decorated life of Civil Rights hero Martin Luther King Jr. He has been praised for the great work he has made to push for the equal civil rights of every American. He was called different names and revered by many different people from all walks of life. Just this year, all fifty states once again celebrated his day. But more than stories of him calling and pushing for equal rights for everyone, which eventually led to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1968; how much do people really know about this great person?
Here are some interesting things that you probably didn’t know about the great Martin Luther King Jr.
· He was born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929. However, his father changes both of their names when they attended the Fifth Baptist World Alliance in Berlin. He was named after the great German reformer, Martin Luther.
· King Jr. sang with his siblings Willie Christine King and Alfred Daniel Williams King with their church choir when the movie “Gone with the Wind” premiered in 1939.
· King Jr. skipped both ninth and the twelfth grades before entering Morehouse College, without graduating from high school.
· He took inspiration from the great success of Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent activism, which he used as a pattern in pushing for the equal rights of every American, even taking a trip to India getting to know more about Gandhi and the concept of “non-violent resistance”.
· King Jr. never endorsed any political party or candidate in the US. He even criticized both parties, highlighting the deficiencies of these in promoting racial equality.
· “I Have a Dream” is what made him most famous as this speech made it as one of the finest speeches ever delivered.
· The Lorraine Motel in Memphis was where King was killed. Staying specifically at room 306 of the motel, this became known as the “King-Abernathy suite”.
· The gunshot that killed MLK came from inside the motel room.
· Corette Scott King, MLK’s widow, with the rest of King’s family filed and won a wrongful death claim against Loyd Jowers and other “co-conspirators”
· As early as 1971, certain cities and states made annual holidays in honor of King. However, a bill formally creating a federal holiday to honor King came after a decade, specifically on November 2, 1983 signed by then President Ronald Reagan.
· Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first celebrated on January 20, 1986, almost three years after the bill was signed by Reagan.
· It was only on January 17, 2000 that Martin Luther King Jr. Day was officially celebrated in all of the US’ 50 states.
· The last three states to recognize the holiday were Arizona in 1992, New Hampshire in 1999 and finally Utah in 2000.
Ultimately, you should know that Martin Luther King Jr. gave up his life pushing for equal rights for every American, including the workplace. The Civil Rights Act may have been passed for almost 50 years now, but an employment lawyer in California believes that the fight against discrimination has not been completely won. And so if you have been a victim of employment discrimination, stand up file charges, and fight your rights now. That way, MLK’s death won’t be in vain.