Who knew that on screen bad ass Samuel L. Jackson swagger is actually a bad ass in real life? Yes, you read that right, because in 1969, Samuel along with a few of his peers, actually held board members of Morehouse College hostage for two days in protest of the school’s curriculum and governance. In the height of the civil rights movement, Jackson enrolled in the prestigious HBCU in 1966 that also happens to be Martin Luther King Jr’s Alma Mater. However, in 1968, right after King was assassinated (in which Jackson was an usher for his funeral), Jackson flew out to Memphis to join an Equal Rights Protest March that radicalized and changed his perception. “I was angry about the assassination, but I wasn’t shocked by it. I knew that change was going to take something different – not sit-ins, not peaceful coexistence.” he stated in an interview with Parade about his reactions to King’s death.
So, he and his a few of his fellow Morehouse students held the college’s board of trustees hostage (including Martin Luther King Jr.'s father), demanding that changes be made in the curriculum of the school and stating that they wanted more blacks on the governing board of the institution. Morehouse eventually gave in and agreed to change but Jackson was expelled for his actions.
That following summer after his expulsion, he became connected with people in the Black Power movement including Stokely Carmichael, but eventually left. “I was in that radical faction. We were buying guns, getting ready for armed struggle, and then all of a sudden, I felt I had a voice. I was somebody. I could make a difference. But then one day, my mom showed up and put me on a plane to L.A. She said, ‘Do not come back to Atlanta.’ The FBI had been to the house and told her that if I didn’t get out of Atlanta, there was a good possibility I’d be dead within a year. She freaked out.’”
Jackson decided to stay in L. A. for two years working as a social worker before reapplying to Morehouse as a drama major. “I decided that theater would now be my politics. It could engage people and affect the way they think. It might even change some minds,” he said.
It was there he met his wife LaTanya Richardson, also a drama major at Spelman.
Samuel L. Jackson is ranked as the highest all-time box office star with over $4.572 billion total box office gross, an average of $70.3 million per film.