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Gail S Hennessey's picture
Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King!

Martin Luther King's birthday is January 15th.  Share these Factoids with your students.

Did you Know?

1. The only non-president to be honored with a national holiday is Martin Luther King.

2. Only George Washington and Martin Luther King are honored on their birthdays with national holidays. Martin Luther King’s birthday and holiday is honored on January 15th.

3. Because of Martin Luther King’s protests for civil rights, King was arrested about 29(or 30) times. He was actually arrested and jailed for speeding 30 in a 25 mph area!

4. The first African American honored as Time Magazine’s Man of the Year(now called Person of the Year) was Martin Luther King.

5.Martin Luther King started college at the age of 15!

6. Estimates are that there are 700-1000 Martin Luther King Jr. streets in the United States and even a street honoring King located in Puerto Rico.

7. In his efforts to fight for civil rights, it is estimated that Martin Luther King traveled over six million miles and gave more than 2500 speeches!

8. Did you know that a young Martin actually jumped out of the second floor window of his home? He actually did this two times and fortunately didn’t get hurt(DON’T try this!!!). The first time he jumped from the window because he felt he needed to be punished because he didn’t watch his younger brother properly. His brother slid down the stair bannister and slid into his grandmother who fell. The second time he jumped out of the window was when his grandmother died. Martin felt she died because he had sneaked out of his house without asking permission.

9. Martin Luther King is the first African American to have a memorial in his honor in the National Mall area in Washington,DC.

10. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “There is nothing more tragic in all this world than to know right and not do it. I can not stand in the midst of all these glaring evils and not take a stand.”

11. Martin Luther King Jr. was the youngest person to ever be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize(in 1964).

12. Asked one day as how he hoped to be remembers, Martin Luther King Jr. replied, “Say I was a drum major for peace.

Questions for students:

  • What do you think this quote of Martin Luther King Jr. means?  “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” 
  • What do you think this quote of Martin Luther King Jr. means?  “The time is always right to do what is right.”
  • What do you think this quote of Martin Luther King Jr. means? “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
  • Illustrate one of the facts you found most interesting.

Check out this Reader's Theater Script on Martin Luther King Jr. :

Check out this Webquest on Martin Luther King Jr.

Illustrations from