Why MLK was kicked out of school at 5 and other ed facts …

(1963 AP Photo)
(1963 AP Photo)

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had something of an unusual education. Here are five things you may not know:

1. King was exceptionally bright as a young child and so was enrolled at the age of 5 at the Yonge Street Elementary School in Atlanta. But students had to be 6 years old to start school, and when his true age was discovered, he was told not to come back until he was of age.

2. King skipped two grades. First was ninth grade. Then, he did so well on his college entrance exams in 11th grade that he skipped his senior year and went to Morehouse College at 15.

3. At Morehouse College, King’s professors called him an underachiever.

4. King eventually earned two bachelors degrees. The first was a sociology degree from Morehouse, where he considered studying law or medicine before taking an interest in religious studies. He then earned a second bachelor’s, in divinity, at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pa., the first integrated school he attended. He graduated at the top of his class and was elected president of the largely white senior class.

5. The title of King’s doctoral dissertation, which he earned at Boston University, was “A Comparison of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Wieman.”

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss · January 21, 2013