On Nov. 2, 1983, Congress passed a law designating the third Monday in January as a national holiday in honor of slain civil rights leader, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The first national celebration of the holiday occurred Jan. 20, 1986.
What do you know of the man and his life? Take this quiz and find out:
1. "If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live." When did Martin Luther King Jr. say this, and where?
a) In Detroit in 1963.
b) In Washington, D.C., in 1965.
c) In Memphis in 1968.
2. "Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence," said Martin Luther King Jr. "Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love." When and where was this said?
a) In Birmingham Jail in 1963, b) In Norway, accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, c) After the assassination of NAACP leader Medgar Evers in 1963.
3. "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 the table of brotherhood," said Martin Luther King Jr. "I have a dream that my four little 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." When and where was this said?
a) At the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington in 1963, b) During a visit to India in 1959, c) In Atlanta at a civil rights rally in 1965.
4. Martin Luther King Jr. was the most prominent American civil rights leader of which of the following time periods?
a) The 1940s and 1950s, b) The 1950s and 1960s, c) The 1960s and 1970s.
5. He was born in Atlanta on Jan. 15 of which year?
a) 1925, b) 1929, c) 1933.
6. King's mother was a schoolteacher; his father was:
a) a Baptist minister, b) a Baptist missionary, c) a schoolteacher.
7. King entered Morehouse College in Atlanta at the age of 15 and graduated with honors four years later. In 1951, he graduated first in his class at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pa. In 1955 he received a PhD in theology from which university?
a) The University of Pennsylvania, b) Boston University, c) The University of Georgia.
8. While in graduate school, he was greatly influenced by the teachings of which prominent public figure?
a) Henry David Thoreau, an opponent of slavery and supporter of civil disobedience.
b) Jean Jacques Rousseau, who wrote "Origin of the Inequality of Man."
c) Mahatma Gandhi, who used passive resistance against the British Raj in India.
9. In 1954, King became minister of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala. The previous year he had married. His wife's name was:
a) Coretta Scott, b) Coretta Scout, c) Loretta Scott.
10. In 1955, in Montgomery, a black woman named Rosa Parks entered American history. What did she do?
a) She refused to move to the back of a public bus and was arrested.
b) She boarded a whites-only trolley and was arrested.
c) She spoke at a desegregation rally and was arrested.
11. As president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, King helped lead a bus boycott which lasted how long?
a) One year, b) Two years, c) Six months.
12. White violence against blacks characterized this period, which culminated in a Supreme Court decision in 1956 that made segregation in public transportation illegal. King responded to the violence in what manner?
a) With counter violence.
b) With nonviolent resistance.
c) With lawsuits in selected cities.
13. To coordinate diverse civil rights groups, King and a number of black ministers founded the SCLC in 1957. What did the letters stand for?
a) Southern Civil Liberties Coalition.
b) Southern Christian Lawmakers Conference.
c) Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
14. After surviving an assassination attempt in 1958, when an African American woman stabbed him in a Harlem bookstore, King was a key figure in sit-ins and freedom rides throughout the South--struggles that often found him under arrest and which led him to write his famous "Letter From Birmingham Jail" in 1963. In this response to a group of professionals critical of his tactics, what did he write?
a) He appealed to the legal profession to support equal rights.
b) He appealed to clergymen to support the struggle for equal rights.
c) He appealed to politicians to support equal rights.
15. Prodded by demonstrations, President Kennedy sent Congress a sweeping civil rights bill. In August 1963, 250,000 people, mostly blacks, participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Was King involved, and how?
a) In poor health, he sent a stirring written message.
b) He was present but spoke only briefly, urging moderation.
c) He gave his electrifying "I Have a Dream" speech.
16. In 1964, two major events in King's life took place, but which one of the following three did not?
a) Congress passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
b) King survived a second assassination attempt.
c) King received the Nobel Peace Prize.
17. In 1965 people came from all over the country to Selma, Ala. What was that all about?
a) King was leading a drive for equality for blacks in the justice system.
b) King was leading a drive against desegregation at the university there.
c) King was leading a drive to end discrimination in voter registration.
18. In the mid-1960s, how did King respond to black militants who challenged his leadership?
a) He reluctantly abandoned his principles of nonviolent resistance.
b) He stood by his principles but left leadership to others.
c) He stood by his principles and turned his attention increasingly to problems of poverty.
19. In 1966, when King spoke out against the Vietnam war, moderate blacks criticized him because they felt it was not a civil rights issue. King replied with two of the following three reasons for his opposition to the war, but not the third, which was:
a) He opposed all injustice to blacks.
b) He felt the war wasted funds that could help blacks in many areas.
c) He opposed American imperialism against Third World nations.
20. King's last great campaign, in 1968, centered on:
a) political rights, b) economic rights, c) legal rights.
21. The "Poor People's Campaign" was King's attempt to bring together the poor of all races in the fight against poverty. When he went to Memphis in 1968 to support a strike by black sanitation workers, what ensued?
a) King was once again arrested and put in jail.
b) King was invited to meet with the Tennessee governor.
c) King was assassinated by James Earl Ray.
22. "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. . . . So I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man." So said Martin Luther King Jr. When and where?
a) After his house was bombed in 1956.
b) In a civil rights march in Atlanta in 1965.
c) In a speech in Memphis the night before his death in 1968.
23. The following words were adapted by Martin Luther King Jr. and chosen as his epitaph. They appear on his marker in South View Cemetery in Atlanta: "Free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty I'm free at last!" They are adapted from what source?
a) The epilogue in "Up From Slavery."
b) An old Negro spiritual.
c) A speech by Malcolm X.
The Answers1. a; 2. b; 3. a; 4. b; 5. b; 6. a; 7. b; 8. c; 9. a; 10. a; 11. a; 12. b; 13. c; 14. b; 15. c; 16. b; 17. c; 18. c; 19. c; 20. b; 21. c; 22. c; 23. b.
CAPTION: Anthony Donnell Lewis beside a portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. painted on a truck in South Los Angeles.