A trip to Germany changed Martin Luther King’s life.
That’s right, the famous civil rights leader was born Michael King, Jr. When he was five-years-old, his father, Michael King Sr., changed their names.
In the 16th century, a German Theologian named Martin Luther (1483-1546) challenged the ideologies of Catholicism and spearheaded the Protestant Reformation. He went on to found the Protestant church.
It’s likely that King Sr., a Baptist minister, learned more about Martin Luther’s story when he visited Germany in 1934.
“It was a big deal for him to go there, to the birthplace of Protestantism,” Clayborne Carson, editor of The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., told the Washington Post.
“That probably implanted the idea of changing his name to Martin Luther King,” he continued.
Actor Kelvin Harrison Jr., who plays the civil rights activist in the new series Genius:MLK/X, expressed his surprise about the name change in an interview with People.
“I couldn’t believe his name was Michael. Was anybody else shocked by that? I mean, that was pretty cool,” he said.
Harrison went to reflect on what may have meant for King, Jr. to be renamed after the religious leader.
“I thought it was such a pivotal moment in his life that most of us would never have to encounter,” he noted.
Genius:MLK/ X is the fourth Installment of National Geographic’s docu-drama series that depicts the lives of historical figures. The eight-episode series will cover the formative years of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.
The series premiered Feb. 1 on National Geographic.
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Source: Black Enterprise