Today we mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States.

The Baptist preacher from Georgia became the principal leader of the nonviolent civil rights movement in this country.

King once said, “Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'”

On this day, many individuals and groups follow the president's call to make it a day of service to others.

Whether or not you volunteer today, test your knowledge of this great American with this quiz about him.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I've Been to the Mountaintop” speech April 3, 1968, at Mason Temple, the Church of God in Christ headquarters, in Memphis, Tenn. In it, he said: “We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop.” Scholars say his speech was foreshadowing what?

A. The election of an

African-American president

B. His own death

C. The Civil Rights Act of 1968

King grew up in Atlanta, where he attended segregated public schools. He left high school at age 15 without formally graduating. He graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1948 and received a bachelor of divinity degree in 1951 from Crozer Theological Seminary near Chester, Pa. Where did King study for and receive his doctorate of divinity degree?

A. Boston University

B. Harvard Divinity School

C. Duke Divinity School

Where did King deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech that included these words: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.' I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood ... I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

A. Courthouse in Montgomery, Ala.

B. Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga.

C. Lincoln Monument in Washington, D.C.

King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for leading nonviolent protest campaigns against discrimination. He was arrested repeatedly, assaulted many times and his home was bombed due to his actions. The FBI kept a massive file on him. What specific incident did the Nobel committee cite in its presentation speech?

A. Desegregation of Chicago housing

B. March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

C. Bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala.

What organization named King its “Man of the Year” for 1963?

A. Time magazine

B. The Southern Baptist Convention

C. The United Nations

King was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. Years later, a portion of the building was incorporated into what?

A. Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church

B. National Civil Rights Museum

C. Martin Luther King

Peace Park

From whom did King draw his principles of nonviolent resistance?

A. Sanjay Gandhi

B. Indira Gandhi

C. Mohandas Gandhi

In 1983, Congress made the third Monday in January a national holiday in honor of King, who remains the only African-American to be commemorated in this way. When was the first Martin Luther King Jr. holiday observed?

A. Jan. 21, 1985

B. Jan. 20, 1986

C. Jan. 19, 1987

King had a number of advisers. Which one of these close advisers, all clergymen like King, went on to be a U.S. Congressman, mayor and United Nations ambassador?

A. Andrew Young

B. Ralph Abernathy

C. Jesse Jackson

King spoke in Omaha in June 1958. Where did he speak?

A. Civic Auditorium

B. Salem Baptist Church

C. North High School

The Answers

1. B. King was assassinated the next day, April 4, 1968, by James Earl Ray at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. King was 39. The continuation of that evening’s speech is: “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.” After the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, King had told his wife, Coretta: “This is what is going to happen to me also. I keep telling you, this is a sick society.”

2. A. He received his Ph.D. from Boston University in 1955. King married Coretta Scott while he was a student at BU.

3. C. On Aug. 28, 1963, the largest protest demonstration in U.S. history was held at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. About 250,000 blacks and whites gathered to lobby for congressional passage of sweeping civil rights measures. King thrilled the crowd with his “I Have A Dream” speech.

4. C. The boycott began Dec. 2, 1955, in Montgomery after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white person the day before. The boycott lasted 381 days. Blacks and whites finally rode the buses as equals after the Dec. 21, 1956, U.S. Supreme Court ruling declared unconstitutional the laws requiring segregation on buses and other public accommodations. At 35, King was the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004, both for his civil rights work. His wife, Coretta Scott King, was a co-recipient of the Gold Medal.

5. A. King was featured on the Jan. 3, 1964, cover of Time magazine as its Man of the Year for 1963.

6. B. King and his entourage were staying in room 706 of the Lorraine Motel. According to Jesse Jackson, who was present, King’s last words on the balcony prior to his assassination were spoken to musician Ben Branch, who was scheduled to perform that night at an event King was scheduled to attend: “Ben, make sure you play ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’ in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.”

7. C. Mohandas Gandhi, commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi, is considered the father of the Indian independence movement. He created his concept of satyagraha (devotion to truth), a nonviolent way to protest injustices. Many civil rights leaders, including King, used Gandhi’s concept as a model for their own struggles.

8. B. Jan. 20, 1986, was the first observance of the federal holiday. Before the official day, many people, including Omahans, had marked the occasion on the anniversary of his assassination.

9. A. Andrew Young was the first African-American who Georgia elected to Congress since Reconstruction. He represented the state’s 5th District. He later also served as mayor of Atlanta and a U.N. ambassador.

10. B. King preached at Salem Baptist Church.

Sources: World-Herald files, Washington Afro-American newspaper, Time magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, Stanford University, National Park Service, Yale Law School Lillian Goldman Law Library,, the American Presidency Project, National History Day and the BBC.

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