Happy Birthday Martin Luther King Jr.

Today marks the holiday celebrating the civil rights leader's birthday

Today we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. In honor of this holiday, we thought we’d bring you five facts about Martin Luther King Jr.

  1. Actual birthday: His birthday was actually Jan. 15. He was born in 1929 in Atlanta.
  2. Why he changed his name: King and his father were both originally named Michael King. However, after a visit to Germany in 1934, King’s father changed both their names to Martin in honor of the Protestant leader Martin Luther.
  3. First 15 minutes of fame: King sang in the choir at the Atlanta movie premiere of Gone With the Wind in 1939.
  4. Started college without high school degree: King skipped ninth and 12th grade math in high school. He started at Morehead College at age 15, without having formally graduated from high school.
  5. Reagan established holiday in King's name: President Ronald Reagan signed Martin Luther King Day as a holiday into law in 1983, and it was observed for the first time on Jan. 20, 1986. The first time all 50 states celebrated the holiday was in 2000.


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