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5 ½ Things You Might Not Know About Martin Luther King, Jr.

King waving to a large crowd

Celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this week by checking out the MLK Living Legacy Committee website and learning more about him. In 1983 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill that created a federal holiday to honor Martin Luther King, but it wasn’t until 2000 that all 50 states officially observed the holiday. George Washington is the only other American to have had his birthday observed as a national holiday.

1) King was imprisoned nearly 30 times.

King pictured being arrested by two police officers.

According to the King Center, the civil rights leader went to jail 29 times. He was arrested for acts of civil disobedience and on trumped-up charges, such as when he was jailed in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956 for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone.

2) He loved Star Trek.

King pictured making Star Trek 'Spock' hand gesture.

According to actress Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura, King told her he was her greatest fan and that she was playing a vital role model for black children and young women across the country.

3) He entered college at age 15.

King pictured in graduation regalia.

King Jr. skipped 9th and 11th grades and entered college at 15. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology at age 19.

4) He was the youngest person to win the Nobel Prize for Peace.

King receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

King received the award in 1964 when he was 35. That record has since been broken by Malala Yousafazai who won the prize in 2014 at age 17.

5) He got a C in Public Speaking.

King pictured at a speaking event.

Recognized as one of the great orators of his time, one of King’s seminary school professors gave him a C in a public speaking course.

5 ½)  I Have a Dream