FAQs

How is the MLK Memorial in DC associated with The King Center?

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Committee, which created the memorial, and The King Center are two entirely separate organizations. However, The King Center did strongly support the creation of the Memorial.

 

Was Martin Luther King, Jr. born with a different name?

Yes, he was born Michael King on January 15, 1929, and a few years later, his father, also Michael King, changed his name to Martin Luther King, Sr., in honor of the great protestant reformer, and his son’s name was also changed to Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

How many times was Dr. King arrested?

He was arrested 30 times.

 

For how long was Dr. King the leader of the Civil Rights Movement?

Approximately 12 years and 4 months, from his election as spokesman for the Montgomery Improvement Association in December of 1955 until he was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

 

How old was Martin Luther King, Jr. when he graduated from college?

He graduated from Morehouse College in 1948 at the age of 19.

 

Which graduate schools did he attend?

He attended Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania from 1948 to 1951 and enrolled in Boston University in 1951, completing his doctoral studies in 1955.

 

When did Dr. King begin studying nonviolence?

In a chapter entitled “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence” in his first book, ‘Stride Toward Freedom,’ King wrote “one Sunday afternoon” during his enrollment at Crozer Theologial Seminary (1948-51), he heard a sermon by Dr. Mordecai Johnson, president of Howard University, delivered at the Fellowship House of Philadelphia. Johnson had just returned from India and that day he spoke about Gandhi’s campaigns of nonviolent resistance to British colonialism. King describes the effect of Dr. Johnson’s lecture thusly: “His message was so profound and electrifying that I left the meeting and bought a half-dozen books on Gandhi’s life and works.” From that point forward King began to integrate Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolent resistance into his Christian beliefs. By the time he was chosen to lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott, King was well-informed about Gandhi’s philosophy, strategy and methods of nonviolence, and these empowering principles were taught to the people of Montgomery to inform their protest.  

 

Did Dr. King plan to be a Civil Rights leader?

He did not plan to be a national leader. He planned to be a pastor of a church, work on his PhD thesis and raise a family. Later, perhaps he would also teach and write about theological and philosophical issues. He was chosen by local African American leaders to serve as spokesman for the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and was considered a leader from then on.

 

When and where did Dr. and Mrs. King get married?

On June 18, 1953 Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott were married in Marion, Alabama, on the front lawn of the Scott family home.

 

Who were some of the people who influenced Dr. King’s beliefs and leadership?

In chronological order, his mother Alberta Williams King, his father Martin Luther King Sr., and Jesus Christ were the central influences on the development of his faith, character and moral principles. Mahatma Gandhi could also be described as a major influence on Dr. King, as well as his mentor, Dr. Benjamin Mays. Dr. King has also paid tribute to influential theologians, including Walter Rauschenbusch, Reinhold Niebuhr and Howard Thurman and two of his teachers in particular, Edgar Brightman and L. Harold DeWolf, among others.  

 

How many documents are in the digital archive?

There have been conflicting numbers published in the media regarding the total number of documents available on our website. There are around a million items in our physical archives. We have imaged about 200,000 but additional metadata and review is required before a document can be released to the website. We launched on 1/16/2012 with about 5,000 and each day more are released.