Today we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. In honor of this holiday, we thought we’d bring you five facts about Martin Luther King Jr.
- Actual birthday: His birthday was actually Jan. 15. He was born in 1929 in Atlanta.
- Why he changed his name: King and his father were both originally named Michael King. However, after a visit to Germany in 1934, King’s father changed both their names to Martin in honor of the Protestant leader Martin Luther.
- First 15 minutes of fame: King sang in the choir at the Atlanta movie premiere of Gone With the Wind in 1939.
- Started college without high school degree: King skipped ninth and 12th grade math in high school. He started at Morehead College at age 15, without having formally graduated from high school.
- Reagan established holiday in King's name: President Ronald Reagan signed Martin Luther King Day as a holiday into law in 1983, and it was observed for the first time on Jan. 20, 1986. The first time all 50 states celebrated the holiday was in 2000.