January 17 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. On this holiday, we celebrate one of the great civil rights leaders of the 20th century. The Rev. King challenged Americans to uphold the Declaration of Independence’s promise “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The quiz below, from the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University, provides an opportunity for you to test your knowledge of King and his efforts to further civil rights in America.


1. King became pastor of which Georgia church in 1960?

A. Wheat Street Baptist Church

B. Milestone Baptist Church

C. Ebenezer Baptist Church

D. Zion Baptist Church


2. Which leader inspired King’s belief in “nonviolent resistance” and, according to King, provided “the method for social reform that I had been seeking”?

A. Nelson Mandela

B. Dalai Lama

C. Eleanor Roosevelt

D. Mahatma Gandhi


3. King said in an interview that if he were marooned on a desert island with only one book other than the Bible, he would choose what book?

A. Plato’s “The Republic”

B. John Stuart Mills’ “On Liberty”

C. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Essays by RW Emerson”

D. James Baldwin’s “Notes of a Native Son”


4. After which civil rights victory did King become a recognized national leader of the civil rights movement?

A. Civil Rights Act of 1964

B. Montgomery Bus Boycott

C.  Birmingham Campaign of 1963

D. School integration in Little Rock


5. In what city in 1968 was King assassinated?

A. Memphis, Tenn.

B.  Jackson, Miss.

C. Little Rock, Ark.

D. Selma, Ala.


6. Before his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, King gave another speech from the Lincoln Memorial. What was the topic of that speech?

A. Vietnam War

B. Importance of nonviolence

C. Economic equality

D. African American voting rights


7. In 1964, King received what important award?

A. United Nations Human Rights Award

B. Nobel Peace Prize

C. Presidential Medal of Freedom

D. Congressional Medal of Honor


8. Which other civil rights leader did King work closely with before his death?

A. Ralph Abernathy

B. Jesse Jackson

C. Benjamin Mays

D. All of the above


9. What was the name of the speech King gave the day before his assassination?

A. “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”

B. “The Three Evils of Society”

C. “Our God Is Marching On”

D. “The Other America”


10. Which president signed legislation designating Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday?

A. Barack Obama

B. Jimmy Carter

C. Ronald Reagan

D. George Bush


Answers: 1-C, 2-D, 3-A, 4-B, 5-A, 6-D, 7-B, 8-D, 9-A, 10-C