What do you know about Martin Luther King Jr.?
Gannett News Service
Though the federal government designates the third Monday of each year as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the date is not always King’s real birthday, Jan. 15. He was born in 1929.
Supporters say the holiday is not meant to be just another three-day weekend for skiing or soaking up the sun but is for learning about King’s values of nonviolence and for serving others in the community.
1. How did the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. first become nationally known?
a) He rallied more than 200,000 marchers in Washington with his “I Have a Dream” speech. b) He organized the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. c) He led a bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man. d) He received the Nobel Peace Prize.
2. How old was King when he first graduated college?
a) 17 b) 19 c) 22 d) 26
3. What was the name of King’s father?
a) Michael Luther King b) Martin Luther King c) Malcolm Luther King d) Myron Luther King
4. Where did King meet his wife?
a) At his father’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta b) During the Montgomery bus boycott c) While he was studying in Boston d) During the March on Washington
5. How many children did King and his wife have?
a) 1 b) 2 c) 3 d) 4
6. Why did King go to Montgomery, Ala.?
a) To get a job b) To lead the bus boycott c) Because his wife’s family lived nearby d) Because his father suggested it
7. Who inspired King’s nonviolent tactics to pressure integration and
equal rights for blacks?
a) Martin Luther b) Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi c) Henry David Thoreau d) Nelson Mandela
8. Whose slaying marked the beginning of the U.S. civil rights
a) Malcolm X b) The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. c) Elijah Muhammad d) Emmett Till
9. Who was sentenced for killing King?
a) James Earl Jones b) James Earl Ray c) James Earl Carter d) James Earl Chaney
10. When did the country begin celebrating King’s birthday as a federal holiday?
a) 1968 b) 1973 c) 1986 d) 2000
1. c) King led the 381-day boycott of Montgomery’s segregated bus lines beginning in 1955 and gained a major victory when the buses were integrated the next year. He helped establish the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
2. b) King was 19 in 1948 when he graduated from historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Three years later, he earned a bachelor’s of divinity from predominantly white Crozer Theological Seminary, then in Chester, Pa. In 1955, he received his doctorate in systematic theology from Boston University.
3. a) Michael Luther King; his son originally was named Michael Luther King Jr. In 1934, after visiting Europe, the Rev. Michael King Sr., a Baptist minister, changed his and his son’s name in honor of the 16th-century German church reformer Martin Luther.
4. c) King met Coretta Scott while pursuing his doctorate in theology at Boston University and married her June 18, 1953, at the Scott family home in rural Perry County, Ala.
5. d) They had four children: Yolanda Denise, born Nov. 17, 1955; Martin Luther III, born Oct. 23, 1957; Dexter Scott, born Jan. 30, 1961; and Bernice Albertine, born March 28, 1963.
6. a) In 1954, King was looking for a job while he finished his dissertation for Boston University. Through a family friend, King learned of a vacant position at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery. He wanted to live and work in a Southern city but be away from Atlanta to gain independence from his father.
7. b) King visited India in 1959 to study Gandhi’s nonviolent civil disobedience strategies in achieving political independence for his people. On Oct. 31, 1517, Luther nailed 95 questions he wanted to debate with the Catholic church to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany; he was later excommunicated for his questioning. Thoreau and his 1849 book, “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,” helped inspire Gandhi. Mandela advocated the use of violence after the African National Congress was banned in South Africa in 1960 and was imprisoned from 1964 to 1990, in part for plotting to violently overthrow the government. Though Mandela originally advocated violence, he was influenced by Gandhi’s work in South Africa and India and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
8. d) The slaying of a black 14-year-old, Emmett Till of Chicago, in the summer of 1955 near Greenwood, Miss., galvanized the civil rights movement. Two men kidnapped Emmett after he whistled at a white woman. The teen had been spending the summer in Mississippi. King was assassinated April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn.
9. b) James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to King’s assassination in March 1969, was given a 99-year prison sentence,and died in a Nashville, Tenn., hospital on April 23, 1998. Jones is a Tony Award-winning actor; Carter, more commonly known as Jimmy Carter, was the 39th U.S. president; Chaney was a civil rights volunteer killed in 1964 in what became known as the Mississippi Burning case.
10. c) Though Congress passed the federal law in 1983, it went into effect Jan. 20, 1986, the third Monday in January. Illinois was the first to enact King’s birthday as a state holiday in 1973, and Utah and South Carolina in 2000 were the last states to recognize King’s birthday as a paid holiday for state workers.
(Contributing: Tom Breen, Florida Today; Linda Dono, Gannett News Service)
Sources: Information Please Almanac, The Nobel Foundation, The New Georgia Encyclopedia, University of Missouri-Columbia