Fun Facts About Martin Luther King and “I Have a Dream”
Fun facts about Martin Luther King and “I Have a Dream”
As we remembered Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with a national holiday this past Monday, looking back on his impressive work with the American Civil Rights movement, his inspirational “I Have a Dream” speech comes to mind. Delivered 48 years ago on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., Dr. King’s speech still resonates today. As an essential part of the Civil Rights movement, King was an inspiration to many at that time and we need to do our part to ensure his message lives on each day.
In memory of Dr. King, we had a fun time compiling some interesting facts about him as well as his famous speech:
- Delivered on August 28, 1963, “I Have a Dream” is a 17-minute speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., in which he called for racial equality and an end to discrimination.
- The speech, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.
- Believe it or not, the “I Have a Dream” speech was originally titled “Normalcy, Never Again” and the first drafts never included the phrase “I have a dream.”
- Near the end of the speech, famous African American gospel singer Mahalia Jackson shouted to Dr. King from the crowd, “Tell them about the dream, Martin.” Dr. King stopped delivering his prepared speech and started preaching, punctuating his points with “I have a dream.”
- Beyond the biblical scripture, the speech contains references to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, and even Shakespeare.
- Dr. King was so busy organizing the march even 12 hours before he was scheduled to stand in front of the masses at the Lincoln Memorial, he didn’t even know what he was going to talk about, much less have anything written.
- January 20, 1986, was the first national celebration of King’s birthday as a holiday.
- Despite “I Have a Dream” considered the top speech of all time by American Rhetoric Martin Luther King Jr. received a “C” in his public speaking class.
- He won the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1964, as the youngest and second black recipient of the award.
- Graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1948.
- Was born Michael Luther King Jr., but after his father changed his first name to Martin when he became a minister. The younger Michael changed his name to Martin as well, initially against his father’s wishes.
- Is the only U.S. citizen to have a national holiday dedicated to him.
- Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year” (1963)
- Was an original Trekkie as a fan of the original Star Trek TV series and even encouraged Nichelle Nichols (Lieutenant Uhura) to remain on the show.
- He stated that he would not live to be 40. He died aged 39.
- Among his personal, non-violent reform heroes was Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948).
- During his funeral, his casket was pulled by a mule-driven cart down Atlanta’s main street.
- No meat for him! Dr. King was a vegetarian.
- In 1988 on his 60th birthday, the U.S. government unveiled a statue memorial to commemorate the progress of civil rights.