Today is a holiday in the United States that honors Martin Luther King Jr., the African-American civil rights leader who dedicated his adult years to ending racial inequality. Dr. King focused his work on the racial divide in the United States, but his wise words have universal application. You don't have to be an American to appreciate the profound wisdom of a statement like, "The time is always right to do what is right."
Martin Luther King Jr. died April 4, 1968 at the tragically young age of 39, shot by an assassin at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. The federal holiday that commemorates his life and legacy was created during President Ronald Reagan's first term in office and formally assigned to the third Monday in January in 1992 under President George H.W. Bush. For the edification of our readers and in honor of Dr. King, Certification Magazine offers this short quiz:
(See answers below.)
1) What was Martin Luther King Jr.'s name at birth?
2) Where did Martin Luther King Jr. attend high school?
3) How old was Martin Luther King Jr. at the time that he began his college education?
4) What academic degrees did Martin Luther King Jr. gain during his time in college?
5) At what age did Martin Luther King Jr. undertake his first pastoral assignment?
6) What role did Martin Luther King Jr. play in events following the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her seat on a city bus in Montgomery, Ala., on Dec. 1, 1955?
7) How many times was Martin Luther King Jr. arrested during his many years of championing civil rights causes?
8) How many people were present when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom?
9) How many times did marchers gather in Selma, Ala., with the intent of marching to the state capitol in Montgomery in support of voting rights?
10) Who delivered Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral oration?
1) King was born Michael King on Jan. 15, 1929, named for his father, also Michael King at the time. The elder King changed both his name and his son's after attending world conference of Baptist churches in Berlin in 1934, taking the name Martin Luther to honor the famous Protestant reformer.
2) King attended Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta. Among other activities, King was a member of the school's debate team.
3) 15. King entered Atlanta's Morehouse College after passing the entrance examination during his junior year of high school.
4) King graduated from Morehouse College with a bachelor's degree in sociology, before earning a bachelor of divinity degree from Crozer Theological Seminary, where he was also elected student body president. Four years after completing his studies at Crozer, he earned a doctorate in systematic theology from Boston University.
5) 25. King was called as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., in 1954.
6) King led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, planned by union organizer E.D. Dixon, which lasted 385 days. At at early stage of the boycott, King's house was bombed. He was not at home at the time of the attack, which threatened but did not injure his wife and daughter, as well as a member of the Dexter Avenue congregation.
7) 29. His first arrest came on Jan. 26, 1956, during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
8) Though the exact number is not known, it is estimated that approximately 250,000 people participated in the march on Aug. 28, 1963. King's speech lasted 17 minutes.
9) The planned Selma-to-Montgomery march was organized three times before being completed. King was not present for the first attempt, broken up by state police on March 7. He led the next attempt, on March 9, but turned it back shortly after starting. The marchers finally completed their journey on March 24 and 25. King addressed the marchers from the steps of the Alabama State Capitol on March 25.
10) King himself was the featured speaker, via a prescient recording made several weeks prior to his death at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church. During the sermon, King remarked that he hoped no mention of awards or honors would be made at his eventual funeral, but that he would instead be remembered for attempting to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and love and serve humanity.