What Are 10 Unusual Facts About Martin Luther King, Jr.?

10-unusual-martin-luther-king-jr Credit: Ron Cogswell/CC-BY 2.0

Unusual and little-known facts about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. include the fact that he was a frequent smoker. In addition, he had run-ins with the FBI after his "I Have a Dream" speech.

King's original name was Michael Luther King. His father changed his name to Martin when he was two years old in homage to German theologian Martin Luther.

In 1941, King tried to commit suicide at age 12 after the passing of his grandmother. He went on to skip two grades in high school and began college at the age of 15. However, despite being well known for his charisma and public speeches, King earned a C in his public speaking course in college. Nevertheless, he won a Grammy in 1971 for Best Spoken Word Album.

King was a habitual smoker. He hid this fact out of concerns that his children might pick up the habit as well as social stigma. He never allowed photos to be taken of him smoking. Stress played a major role in his health and well-being. During the autopsy on his 39-year-old body, the doctors stated that he had the heart of a 60 year old.

At the time King won the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 35, he was the youngest person ever to do so. He donated all his monetary winnings from the Nobel Prize to the civil rights movement. Today, over 700 streets in the United States are named after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.