Quiz: How much do you know about Martin Luther King Jr?

In this Aug. 28, 1963, black-and-white file photo, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, addresses marchers during his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
In this Aug. 28, 1963, black-and-white file photo, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, addresses marchers during his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. AP archives

On the third Monday of January, Americans take the day to honor Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most important civil rights leaders in the history of the United States.

Most everyone knows MLK fought for equality for African-Americans during the 1950s and ’60s, but how much do you really know about the man and his mission? Take this quiz to find out and see how you scored at the end.

1. Martin Luther King Jr. was born Jan. 15, 1929. What was his birth name?

a) Marvin King Jr.

b) Michael King, Jr.

c) Melvin King, Jr.

d) Malcolm King, Jr.


2. Where was MLK born?

a) Mobile, Ala.

b) Memphis, Tenn.

c) Atlanta, Ga.

d) Birmingham, Ala.


3. Martin Luther King Jr. earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Pennsylvania’s Crozer Theological Seminary and a doctorate from Boston University. Where else did he attend college?

a) Morehouse College

b) Harvard University

c) Cornell University

d) Carver Bible College


4. Whose example and teachings played a primary role in inspiring King’s philosophy of nonviolent protest?

a) Dalai Lama

b) Malcolm X

c) Mother Theresa

d) Mahatma Gandhi


5. In his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which state does Martin Luther King Jr. not mention?

a) Alabama

b) Mississippi

c) New York

d) Texas


6. MLK was awarded “Man of the Year” for 1963 by what publication?

a) Newsweek

b) Time

c) U.S. News & World Report

d) USA Today


7. In 1964, when he was just 35 years old, Martin Luther King Jr. became the youngest man to receive what award?

a) Public Welfare Medal

b) NAACP Image Award

c) Nobel Peace Prize

d) Freedom Award


8. After the Civil Rights Act of 1964, efforts to register black voters met with resistance from certain Southern states, including Alabama. As such, in early 1965, MLK led a protest march from what city to Montgomery, Ala., to raise awareness of the problem?

a) Birmingham

b) Mobile

c) Selma

d) Tuscaloosa


9. In 1967, a year to the day before his death, MLK delivered a controversial, anti-Vietnam War speech. What was the name of that speech?

a) Letter from Birmingham Jail

b) Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence

c) Letter from a War-Weary Nation

d) Give Peace a Chance


10. MLK was assassinated April 4, 1968, in Memphis. Who was arrested for his murder?

a) James Earl Ray

b) Lee Harvey Oswald

c) John Wilkes Booth

d) John Hinckley Jr.


11. What president signed a bill creating a holiday to honor MLK?

a) John F. Kennedy

b) Lyndon Baines Johnson

c) Jimmy Carter

d) Ronald Reagan


12. Dedicated in 2011, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is carved into the “Stone of Hope” standing past what?

a) Hill of Hate

b) Ridge of Ruin

c) Mountain of Despair

d) Mound of Malice


1. B, Michael King, Jr. During a trip to Germany, MLK’s father, a pastor, was inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. As such, King Sr. changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.

2. C, Atlanta, Ga. He was the middle child, born between an older sister, Willie Christine King, and a younger brother, Alfred Daniel Williams King.

3. A, Morehouse College. He entered when he was just 15 years old, having skipped ninth and 12th grades.

4. D, Mahatma Gandhi. A leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India, Gandhi is famous in part for the Salt March (1930), which helped set the precedent for MLK’s peaceful protests.

5. D, Texas. In addition to Alabama, Mississippi and New York, King also mentioned California, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee.

6. B, Time. He was the first African-American to receive this honor.

7. C, Nobel Peace Prize. After winning the award, he announced that he would donate the prize money of $54,123 to help advance the civil rights movement.

8. C, Selma. The march, dramatized in the 2014 feature film Selma, helping lead to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

9. B, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.” Delivered at Riverside Church in New York City, the speech also touched on such topics as materialism and the “glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.”

10. A, James Earl Ray. King was shot while standing on the balcony of his second-story room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. He was in town to support a sanitation workers’ strike. The Lorraine site is home to the National Civil Rights Museum.

11. D, Ronald Reagan. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was signed into law by the 40th President of the United States in 1983. It was first observed in 1986.

12. C, Mountain of Despair. The 30-foot statue is named after a line from his “I Have a Dream Speech”: “With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”

Hundreds of North Texans lined the streets of Fort Worth to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy. (January 18, 2016.) Video by Andrea Ahles