Today Americans observe a U.S. federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around the time of King’s birthday, January 15.
Here are five facts you should know about MLK:
1. King’s literary and rhetorical masterpiece was his 1963 open letter “The Negro Is Your Brother,” better known as the “Letter From Birmingham Jail.” The letter, written while King was being held for a protest in the city, was a response to a statement made by eight white Alabama clergymen titled “A Call for Unity.” An editor at the New York Times Magazine, Harvey Shapiro, asked King to write his letter for publication in the Magazine, though the Times chose not to publish it.
2. In 1964, King became the second African American — and the third black man — to win the Nobel Peace Prize.