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On the hunt for something fresh to share with your students? This activity asks students to research the lives of American inventors, fill in the blanks on missing history and determine which historical statements are true or false. It also challenges students to think critically with the help of t…
Which of the following statements is false about the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.?
George Washington is the only other American to have had his birthday observed as a national holiday. In 1983 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill that created a federal holiday to honor King.
King’s birth name was Michael, not Martin. The civil rights leader was born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929. In 1934, 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 was such a gifted student that he skipped grades nine and 12 before enrolling in 1944 at Morehouse College, the alma mater of his father and maternal grandfather. Although he was the son, grandson and great-grandson of Baptist ministers, King did not intend to follow the family vocation until Morehouse president Benjamin E. Mays, a noted theologian, convinced him otherwise. King was ordained before graduating college with a degree in sociology.
King narrowly escaped an assassination attempt a decade before his death. On September 20, 1958, King was in Harlem signing copies of his new book, “Stride Toward Freedom,” in Blumstein’s department store when he 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 where he convalesced for weeks, King issued a statement affirming his nonviolent principles and saying he felt no ill will toward his mentally ill attacker.
He once attempted suicide: Distraught over the death of his grandmother Jennie, 12-year-old Martin jumped from a second story window at his family home, allegedly attempting suicide.
Surprising autopsy results: When he died, King was only 39 years old, but upon final autopsy, the medical examiner was surprised to find that his heart had the wear and tear of a 60-year-old. The doctor said he believed this to be the result of stress.
He spent his wedding night in a funeral home: At the time of his marriage to Coretta Scott King in 1953, honeymoon suites were unavailable to African Americans. Because of this, the couple spent their wedding night in a funeral home owned by a friend.
He was a Trekkie: At a fund-raiser, King convinced actress Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura, to stay onboard when it was rumored she wanted to leave after the first season of the original “Star Trek.” He told Nichols he was her greatest fan.
Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s ideas—his call for racial equality, his faith in the ultimate triumph of justice, his insistence on the power of nonviolence to bring about a major transformation of American society—are as vital and timely as ever.
Black History Quiz is a weekly celebration of the contributions and achievements of Africans and the descendants of the diaspora in the United States and around the world. PLEASE SHARE this newsletter and help spread the word about a proud people and their cultures. New issues post on Sundays at 7:30 am EST. | www.blackhistoryquiz.com