MLK Day is around the corner and we at The Root have some facts about the minister, author, and civil rights leader’s whirlwind of a life.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a gifted student skipping the 8th and 12th grades. He enrolled in HBCU Morehouse College at the age of 15. King was a Sociology major and as a student learned much about injustices, and segregation, and also sparked his interest in theology. Morehouse’s chapel was named The Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel in his honor.
In September 1958, MLK was stabbed in the chest with a seven-inch penknife by a woman named Izola Ware Curry while signing copies of his book Stride Toward Freedom. After stabbing him she said that she was after him for six years. He was then rushed to a Harlem hospital.
Julia Roberts’ father owned a theater school in Atlanta and one day Coretta Scott King called to have her children enrolled. She wanted to find a safe place for her children to attend. Roberts’ family and the King family soon became friends. The King couple in turn paid for Julia’s hospital birth bill for helping their children.
Two months before MLK gave the world the iconic “I Have a Dream speech” at the March on Washington, he gave an early version of the speech in Detroit, Michigan. King was in Detroit for The Walk to Freedom in June 1963. The version we know now of the speech was partly improvised that day when singer Mahalia Jackson told him to tell the crowd about his dream.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was 39 years young when he was assassinated via a gunshot wound on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. He stepped out on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel to speak to members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He was pronounced dead an hour later at St. Joseph’s Hospital.