In honor of Monday's Martin Luther King Day holiday holiday, Mental Floss put together this list of things you may no know about the iconic civil rights leader. Here are five of the facts (you can see the rest at the link):
- Martin Luther King was not his given name. He was actually born Michael King Jr, but when he was five his dad decided to change both their names from Michael to Martin Luther after the 16th-century theologian.
- He was a Doctor of Theology. He earned a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Boston University in 1955.
- He made 30 trips to jail. He was jailed thirty times in a 12-year period during his time as the recognized leader of the civil rights movement.
- The FBI tried to coerce him into suicide. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover kept him under surveillance, and allegedly tried to blackmail him into leaving the moment, or committing suicide, by threatening to release evidence they claimed to have about his extramarital affairs.
- A single sneeze could have changed history. Ten years before he was killed, a woman named Izola Ware Curry stabbed him in the chest at a book signing event in Harlem. Afterwards, doctors said had King so much as sneezed, the stabbing would have been fatal.
Since MLK Day will look different this year because of the pandemic, we hope these facts will help you reflect while safe at home.