49 Facts and Quotes You Should Know About Martin Luther King Jr. on the 49th Year of His Death

49 years ago, White America assassinated a Civil Rights leader who combated racism, social inequalities, segregation, black suffrage, and unjust laws while standing firmly on a platform of peace and nonviolence.

Rest in Power.
  1. “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
  2. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.
  3. Martin Luther King Jr. was the child of the late Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King.
  4. Martin Luther King Jr. had two siblings: Christine and Alfred Daniel (A.D.)
  5. Martin Luther King Jr. attended Morehouse College. He received early-admission at the age of 15 years old.
  6. Martin Luther King Jr. pursued his B.A. in sociology and graduated in 1948.
  7. Martin Luther King Jr. attended Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania where he decided to enter the ministry.
  8. Martin Luther King Jr. was the valedictorian of Crozer’s 1951 predominately-white senior class.
  9. Martin Luther King Jr. enrolled in Boston University, receiving a fellowship to earn his doctorate.
  10. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott met in Boston.
  11. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott were married on June 18, 1953.
  12. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King moved down South to Montgomery, Alabama within the next year.
  13. Martin Luther King Jr. accepted the pastorate position at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.
  14. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King had four children together: Yolanda Denise (1955), Martin Luther, III (1957), Dexter Scott (1961), and Bernice Albertine (1963).
  15. Martin Luther King Jr. organized the Social and Political Action Committee at Dexter Baptist.
  16. Martin Luther King Jr. was one, among many, influential leaders who contributed to the success of the Montgomery Boycotts that lasted 382 days.
  17. Martin Luther King Jr. was 26 years old when he was elected president of the Montgomery Improvement Association.
  18. “There comes a time when people get tired of being trampled over by the iron feet of oppression.”
  19. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work was heavily influenced by Christianity and Gandhi’s nonviolent and passive resistance.
  20. Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested for “civil disobedience” and other charges almost 30 times during the Civil Rights Movement.
  21. Martin Luther King Jr.’s house was targeted by segregationists when dynamite hit his front porch in 1956. Coretta and Yolanda Denise escaped unharmed.
  22. Martin Luther King Jr. and other black ministers formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957; King became the organization’s president.
  23. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
  24. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King visited Ghana, deeply influenced by the social change after the country’s declaration of independence.
  25. Martin Luther King Jr.’s first memoir is titled, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story.
  26. Martin Luther King Jr. survived a 1958 assassination attempt after his book-signing in Harlem.
  27. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King went on a month-long visit to India to meet the prime minister and other followers of Gandhi.
  28. Martin Luther King Jr. returned to Atlanta in 1960 to help mobilize actions of the SCLC.
  29. Martin Luther King Jr. met with former presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson about social reform and laws, demanding for laws to be placed protecting African Americans.
  30. Martin Luther King Jr.’s phone lines were wiretapped by the FBI.
  31. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “Letter from Birmingham”; a letter to white clergymen and critics of the civil rights movement while sitting in an isolated jail cell.
  32. Martin Luther King Jr.’s longest one liner is in this letter: “But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: ‘Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?’; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading ‘white’ and ‘colored’; when your first name becomes ‘nigger,’ your middle name becomes ‘boy’ (however old you are) and your last name becomes ‘John,’ and your wife and mother are never given the respected title ‘Mrs.’; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of ‘nobodiness’ — then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.”
  33. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the “Big Six” leaders who helped organize the March on Washington (for Jobs and Freedom) in 1963.
  34. Martin Luther King Jr. is most-famously known for his 17-minute “I Have a Dream” Speech that took place in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
  35. Martin Luther King Jr. was named “Man of the Year” by Times magazine.
  36. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote five books and numerous articles on civil rights for African Americans and his journey towards equality and justice through nonviolent practices.
  37. Martin Luther King Jr. was the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 35 in 1964.
  38. Martin Luther King Jr. was labeled as “the most notorious liar in the country” by FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover.
  39. Martin Luther King Jr. met up with Malcolm X only once.
  40. Martin Luther King Jr. and leaders from prominent civil rights organizations (SNCC, NAACP, CORE, etc.) marched from Selma to Montgomery, advocating for black suffrage after Bloody Sunday — a peaceful march that ended with excessive police violence.
  41. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
  42. Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for social reform in the U.S. while he also publicly opposed money and war efforts that went towards the Vietnam War.
  43. Martin Luther King Jr. and SCLC decided to launch the “Poor People’s Campaign” which focused on economic and financial disadvantages for Americans living in poverty.
  44. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last public speech was at Mason Temple Church in Memphis. It is widely known as the speech where he foreshadowed his own assassination that occurred the next day.
  45. “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.”
  46. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last contribution to civil rights would be his dedication to peacefully protest with African American sanitation workers who were on strike.
  47. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed at the Lorraine Motel, on the balcony of his room, on April 4th, 1968.
  48. Martin Luther King Jr. was only 39 years old when he was killed.
  49. Martin Luther King Jr. Day became a legal holiday in 1986, after lobbying efforts were made by his wife, Coretta Scott King.

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