One could make the case that the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the most significant American of the 20th century. He is only the third American whose birthday is commemorated as a federal holiday, a distinction not even granted Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, or FDR. 44 years after his death. Although King is one of U.S. history's most widely chronicled individuals, there are aspects of his life that are less well-known than the pivotal speeches, the campaigns against Jim Crow city halls from Montgomery in 1955 to Memphis in 1968, and the dalliances that for some, tainted his personal life. King was as complex a figure as exists in our social narrative. He was a man conflicted by his commitment to a movement into which he was drafted against his better judgement and by the overwhelming demands to fulfill the role of human rights spokesperson. He was a husband and father who belonged to a people and a revolution, and the nation's most prominent advocate of nonviolence at a time when violence burned on urban streets, college campuses and in Southeast Asia.
For all his gifts, MLK was quite human. Here are some things about him that may surprise you.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment