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The Student Connection

The Student Connection

Five Facts About Martin Luther King Jr.
You Might Not Know

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

King's birth name was Michael.
King was born Michael King Jr. However, his father, a pastor at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, traveled to Germany and became inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. As a result, King Sr. changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.

King entered college at the age of 15.
King skipped grades nine and 12 before enrolling in 1944 at Morehouse College, the alma mater of his father and maternal grandfather.

King narrowly escaped an assassination attempt a decade before his death.
On Sept. 20, 1958, King was in Harlem signing copies of his new book, "Stride Toward Freedom," in Blumstein's department store, and was approached by Izola Ware Curry. The woman asked if he was Martin Luther King Jr. After he said yes, Curry said, "I've been looking for you for five years," and she plunged a seven-inch letter opener into his chest. The tip of the blade came to rest alongside his aorta, and King underwent hours of delicate emergency surgery. Surgeons later told King that just one sneeze could have punctured the aorta and killed him. From his hospital bed, King issued a statement affirming his nonviolent principles and saying he felt no ill will toward his mentally ill attacker.

King's mother was also slain by a bullet.
On June 30, 1974, as 69-year-old Alberta Williams King played the organ at a Sunday service inside Ebenezer Baptist Church, Marcus Wayne Chenault Jr. rose from the front pew, drew two pistols and began to fire shots. One of the bullets struck and killed King, who died steps from where her son had preached nonviolence. The deranged gunman said that Christians were his enemy and that although he had received divine instructions to kill King's father, who was in the congregation, he killed King's mother instead because she was closer.

King's mother earned a certificate from Hampton Institute.
Alberta Christine Williams King enrolled in Hampton Normal and Industrial Institute (now Hampton University), where she obtained her teaching certificate in March 1924.

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