You may know that Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights leader, but here are some surprising facts about him that you may not have heard in school.
1. His birth name was Michael, not Martin.
The civil rights leader was born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929. In 1934, however, his father traveled to Germany and became inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. As a result, King Sr. changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.
2. He entered college at the age of 15.
King was such a gifted student that he skipped grades 9–12 before enrolling in 1944 at Morehouse College. King was ordained before graduating college with a degree in sociology.
3. He was imprisoned nearly 30 times.
According to the King Center, King went to jail 29 times. He was arrested for acts of civil disobedience and on trumped-up charges, such as when he was jailed in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956 for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone.
4. George Washington is the only other American to have had his birthday observed as a national holiday.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill that created a federal holiday to honor King. The holiday, first commemorated in 1986, is celebrated on the third Monday in January, close to King’s January 15 birthday.
Happy 4th of July from Richter Publishing! This week while you’re celebrating America’s independence with fireworks and hot dogs, here are some interesting facts about our country’s history that you can share with your friends and family.
1. Starting off on the wrong foot… with the wrong day.
The Second Continental Congress actually met on July 2nd to formally approve the new nation’s independence from Great Britain. Then the news was published in newspapers two days later on July 4th. So, technically, we celebrate Independence Day two days late. John Adams thought July 2nd would become a memorable holiday, writing to his wife, “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epoch, in the History of America.”
2. Red, White, and Green.
Since bright colors were hard to come by even for the rich, most people in those days celebrated Independence Day with lush greenery. General George Washington used to direct his army to put green boughs in their hats on the 4th of July.
3. Courageous Turkeys
Thanks to John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, we have the bald eagle as our national bird. If the decision had been solely Benjamin Franklin’s, it would’ve been a turkey. Franklin thought the turkey was a very courageous bird, whereas he believed the bald eagle was a bird of “bad moral character.”
Have fun and stay safe this 4th of July!