January 16th, 2012

In observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, all 79 Chicago Public Library locations are closed today. We will re-open tomorrow, Tuesday, January 17, 2012.

In the meantime, we recommend browsing CPL’s vast digital media catalog — including these 21 downloadable selections about Dr. King!

To celebrate Dr. King’s legacy (whose birthday was actually yesterday), enjoy CPL’s exclusive portrait of MLK ‘by the numbers.’

5 :: Martin’s age when his family discovered that his name had been recorded wrong on his birth certificate. In 1934, “Michael King” legally became Martin Luther King, Jr.

10 :: The age at which Martin sang with his church choir in Atlanta at the gala premiere of the movie Gone With The Wind.

9th and 12th :: The grades King skipped in high school.

15 :: The age at which he began studying at Moorehouse College.

:: Number of Bachelor degrees — sociology and theology — held by King. In 1952, he was initiated into the Boston Metro chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (pictured pledging below; front row, far right). In 1955, he received his PH. D. from Boston University.

6 million+ :: Miles Dr. King traveled from 1957 until his death in 1968.

2,500+ :: Speeches given by Dr. King throughout those many travels.

5 :: The number of books authored by Dr. King. A prolific writer, he also published countless articles in newspapers and magazines.

35 :: The age at which Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize. The honor (1964) made him the youngest person to ever receive the award. Read the transcript of his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.

2nd :: “Most Admired Person of the 20th Century.” According to a Gallup poll published in December 1999, MLK finished behind Mother Theresa. Check out the other honorees in the complete Gallup results.

3rd :: “Greatest American of All Time.” In a 2005 contest sponsored by AOL and the Discovery Channel, millions voted only Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln ahead of Dr. King. View the contest’s top 25.

730+ :: US cities, including Chicago, that presently have streets named after King. Our Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive was originally named Grand Blvd. and later Parkway Blvd. until his assasination in 1968. Read a brief but detailed Chicago Tribune account of MLK’s 1966 march in Marquette Park, which was marred by violence and hate towards King.

10 :: The number of 20th century world martyrs who have statues at Westminster Abbey. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of them.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day from all of us at Chicago Public Library!

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