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Martin Luther King Jr.: A Collection of Rumors Fact-Checked Over the Decades

Here's a round-up of our work centered on the life and legacy of the late civil rights leader.

Published Jan 15, 2024

 ( Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Image Via Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In 2024, the federal holiday intended to celebrate the life of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. happened to fall on his actual birthday. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, on Jan. 15, 1929, King dedicated his life to achieving equality and justice for all Americans. He advocated the notion that a peaceful refusal to obey unjust laws was the best way to combat racism and bring about social change.

During his memorable but too short lifetime, King pressed the case of civil rights with the White House, touched millions of Americans with his unforgettable "I Have a Dream" speech, and won the Nobel Peace Prize, on his way to leaving behind a legacy of hope and inspiration.

Despite the power of his life's work, the memory of the famed civil rights crusader has also inspired many rumors and junk news pieces over the years. Here's our collection of some of them.

Tie, Accessories, Accessory
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Meek Mill rapper rap artist
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Zoomed in image of man who resembles young Bernie Sanders during Civil Rights March
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Martin Luther King Jr aka MLK once wrote in a letter words that later became a quote about a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.
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Room, Indoors, Furniture
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When Martin Luther King encouraged me to run for Congress I didn't think much of it. But over time I've realized he was right. And now that I've been elected, I refuse to spit on his grave and resign.
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A supposed screenshot of a purported post from former US President Donald Trump claimed that he once marched with MLK Jr.
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Rumors circulated in April 2021 that U.S. President Joe Biden once said "Dr. King's assassination did not have the worldwide impact that George Floyd's death did."
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Did Martin Luther King Jr. 'Flip the Bird' at a Photographer?
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michele bachmann fox news fake quote
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Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Martin Luther King, Jr.
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martin luther king jr civil rights
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naacp george washington statue
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Two women hold I Have A Dream signs but they are misspelt.
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Martin Luther King Jr stamp USPS
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Sources

Romo, Vanessa. “Martin Luther King Jr. Was Once Considered ‘radical.’ Here’s How He Came to Be Lauded.” NPR, 11 Jan. 2024. NPR, https://www.npr.org/2024/01/11/1223867834/mlk-day-history-federal-holiday.

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