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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

5 Facts about MLK You May Not Know

The civil rights leader's dynamic life was full of surprises

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Photo: New York Daily News Archive / Contributor (Getty Images), Kristina Bumphrey / Contributor (Getty Images)

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.

He was only 15 when he attended Morehouse College

MLK sits in the front row, third from the left
MLK sits in the front row, third from the left
Photo: Screen shot from Usatoday.com (Other)
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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.

He was attacked a decade before his assassination

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Photo: AP Photo/John Lent, File (AP)
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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.

MLK and Coretta Scott King paid for the bill for Julia Roberts’ birth

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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.

He gave the “I Have a Dream” speech in Detroit before the March on Washington

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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.

He was only 39 years old when he died

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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.