Little Known Black History Fact: The Evolution of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Each person on this earth has a path that formed who they are today and who they will be tomorrow. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s path was to be known worldwide and his message of nonviolent protest with progression based on the transformation of human ideology would live on forever. But Dr. King, like any other human, learned like the rest of us and was just as vulnerable through trial and errors of life. At age 12, a young & passionate Michael King (that was his birth name before his father changed it to Martin Luther in 1930), jumped out of a second story window at his parents Auburn Avenue home; he had learned that his grandmother passed while he was out at a parade (with no permission). King weeped for days and was depressed behind his grandmother’s passing.

With a bigger purpose ahead, he survived. King became a star student in high school, graduating at age 15. But once he got to Morehouse College, he only saw one ‘A’  –  a lot of ‘B’s’ –  and even got a ‘C’ in public speaking. In 1944, a chance to work in a non-segregated society in Connecticut changed him forever. The young HBCU student saw that an integrated society was possible. The impact of returning to a Jim Crow south after seeing what he saw in Connecticut formed his life’s path. King saw a larger vision beyond the grades, did what he had to do in school, and graduated valedictorian from Crozer Seminary.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, GA. He was born Michael King Jr., after his father. Once his father completed a pilgrimage in which he was taught the ways of Martin Luther the protestant, he changed his name and thus changed his son’s name to Martin Luther King Jr.  He and his siblings, A.D. King and Christine King Farris, were taught among the followers of Ebenezer Baptist Church, their father’s church, in Atlanta. Then 10 years old, Junior was part of the church choir, which included performances at unique engagements like the “Gone With the Wind” premiere. While the boys choir performed for the stars, the black actresses in the performance (Hattie McDaniel and Butterfly McQueen) were not allowed to attend.

Dr. King’s work in the movement led to the creation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 by himself and other influential preachers. He became a target of the FBI, who added Dr. King to their counterintelligence program, named COINTELPRO. The FBI’s papers and intentions with Dr. King are under protection of the bureau until the year 2027.

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