Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Thursday Thirteen # 17 – Thirteen Little Known Facts About Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

April 4th will mark the 40th anniversary of
Dr. King’s assassination at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III will lead a march to the hotel to commemorate this historical event. I will take time on Friday to reflect on how far the world has come in these 40 years and how much will still need to strive for both globally and in America. For this edition of Thursday Thirteen I will share some little known facts about Dr. King.

1. Dr. King was a Republican - Most people would assume that because Dr. King was black, and fought for the rights of the underprivileged, that he would naturally be a Democrat. But the truth is that by many accounts, Dr. King was a Republican, and more conservative in his views.

2. Dr. King was a dedicated Fraternity man – He was a member of Sigma chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. as the number 5 of his line in spring of '52.

3. He changed his name from Michael to Martin, but there is no evidence that he changed it legally.

4. In 1964, Dr. King became the first black American to be honored as Time magazine's Man of the Year.

5. King's efforts were not limited to securing civil rights; he also spoke out vehemently against poverty and the Vietnam War.

6. Besides his doctoral degree from Boston University, Dr. King was awarded 20 honorary doctoral degrees, from numerous colleges.

7. Dr. King became an ordained minister in 1948 at the age of nineteen.

8. Selected one of the most outstanding personalities of the year by Time Magazine in1957.

9. He entered Morehouse College at 15 and in 1948 he graduated with a B.A. degree in Sociology.

10. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover waged a bitter war of surveillance and harassment, declaring him "the most dangerous man in America.

11. He rejected a series of academic offers, opting instead to become pastor of Montgomery, AL's Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

12. The Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was assassinated became a civil rights museum in 1991.

13. Mrs. Coretta Scott King spoke at the funeral of her husband, eloquently stating, "The day that Negro people and others in bondage are truly free, on the day `want' is abolished, on the day `wars' are no more, on that day, I know my husband will rest in a long-deserved peace."

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Malcolm said...

Not too long ago, I read about MLK Jr. changing his first name. I just assumed that he was named after the religious leader Martin Luther.

J. Edgar Hoover was an SOB plain and simple. It's scary to think that he was in power for nearly 50 years.

pjazzypar said...


I thought Martin Luther King's father name was MLK, hence the Jr. Yeah J. Edgar Hoover was scary until he put on his dress, pumps, and lipstick. Come to think of it that would have been scary TOO!

SJ Reidhead said...

I am impressed. I learned something.

Years ago when the Metropolitan Opera toured in Atlanta, my mother and I had orchestra level seats right behind Mrs. King. She was always beautifully dressed and extremely gracious. She did not know us, but always spoke (we would attend the same performances every night for a week).

She also had the most handsome, distinguished escorts. Recently my mother and I started arguing over that. She said they were just gentlemen escorts. I made the comment that Mrs. King was a beautiful woman and still young. What was wrong with a hot date or two. It did not go over well. But - the men she went out with - my gosh they were good looking!

The Pink Flamingo

anthonynorth said...

Some really interesting facts there. Very informative. Well done.

The Gal Herself said...

I didn't know the M was originally for Michael! I also love thinking of the carefully spoken Dr. King as a frat boy. It's funny, but you never think of Dr. King having many laughs, do you? I hope he did. He deserved joy. (Thanks for visiting my TT)

Nicholas said...

Thank you for a very interesting TT. It's odd to think that Dr King supported the political party that opposed anti-lynching laws.

Holly said...

He was a Republican? Wow, I did not know that and find that odd.

I agree with The Pink Flamingo - I always thought that Mrs. King was elegant and had a presence of her own.



On a limb with Claudia said...

This is such a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing all of this information. So much is lost in the nattering about his promiscuity or whatever else. He was a truly beautiful person - amazing.

I worked with a client who was in the crowd at the assassination. I don't think he will ever get over it. Going from the elation of seeing THE MAN to seeing him murdered.... It changed his whole life.

Happy TT!

PS. I owe you a bee email - I'll do it! :)

SandyCarlson said...

It's funny I never thought about his political affiliation before this post. I guess I assumed he stood outside and above all of that. Interesting. Thanks.

Jay said...

I enjoy it when people are so surprised by speculation that Dr. King was a Republican. So many civil rights leaders are preachers and, even though they are characterized as left-wing by most of the media, they are actually fairly conservative in many ways.

susiej said...

What a beautiful post. I love the video.

Lazy Daisy said...

Very interesting facts. I remember when he was shot. We had gone to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. and because of the looting they had to declare marshal law.

pjazzypar said...

SJ Reidhead, I don't know if Mrs. King ever dated, I never heard if she did. She was a very elegant and refined woman and even after all she went through you never heard about her making derogatory statements. Even when they tried to drag her husband's name through the mud she maintained her dignity. Thanks for sharing your story.

anthonynorth, Thanks for visiting.

The Gal Herself, I found it very interesting that he had actually stood online to join a fraternity. I have seen pictures of him smiling and enjoying himself and his family.

Nicholas, What people tend to forget is that because Lincoln was a Republican, many African Americans were Republicans for much of the 20th century.

Holly, See my comments to Nicholas. I agree that Mrs. King had a style and presence all his own.

On a limb with Claudia,

SandyCarlson, Wow! I cannot imagine being there at Dr. King's final moments. That must have been devastating for your friend.

Jay, I am with you. I am not at all surprised about his political affiliation. Although he was a very young man I can imagine his as being a conservative.

susiej, Thanks for visiting. I am glad you enjoyed the video. Thanks for stopping by.

Lazy Daisy, I think we all remember where we were, sort of like we can all recall where we were when we lost President Kennedy.

Journeywoman said...

Wonderful post.

Kim said...

Such a powerful and moving speach. Thanks for sharing those interesting facts!

Happy TT!!

Natalie said...

That's really interesting. I didn't know he'd changed his name. That's neat!

marcia said...

i had no idea he was republican

Lori said...

Dr. King died before I was born and it wasn't until a couple of years ago, when my children and I read his "I have a dream..." speech in it's entirety, that I realized what a vision this man had, what a great man he truly was, and what a loss this country suffered with his death.

Nice way to remember him, with this TT.

Alice Audrey said...

King was a great man because he spoke one of the ultimate truths in life - we are ALL worthy of respect.

Chris said...

Great list, thanks for posting these. Happy TT!

Nap Warden said...

I just got done telling my Husband I don't know enough about MLK. Great list!

Melanie said...

Wow! I learned a lot from this post.

Cindy Swanson said...

Wow...I really learned a lot about MLK from that post! I also thought he was named after Martin Luther, but was there no Martin Luther Sr? Interesting!

CC said...

great list! I didn't know all of those facts. Especially about the name change.