8 Surprising Facts about Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King JR

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. day, a federal holiday since 1986 intended to honor the legacy of the slain civil rights activist.

It’s worthwhile to reflect on his life and learn new things about King.  For example, he thought of himself as a Christian preacher first and foremost.

“Before I was a civil rights leader, I was a preacher of the Gospel,” King once said. “This was my first calling and it still remains my greatest commitment. You know, actually all that I do in civil rights I do because I consider it a part of my ministry. I have no other ambitions in life but to achieve excellence in the Christian ministry. I don’t plan to run for any political office. I don’t plan to do anything but remain a preacher. And what I’m doing in this struggle, along with many others, grows out of my feeling that the preacher must be concerned about the whole man.”

Here are 8 other facts about Martin Luther King, Jr. that you may not have known.



1. King was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s use of nonviolent activism and said “for a long time … wanted to take a trip to India.”