Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born 91 years ago, on Jan. 15, 1929.

But the name on his original birth certificate — filed April 12, 1934, five years after King was born — was not Martin. Nor was it Luther. In fact, for the first years of his life, he was Michael King. And it wasn’t until he was 28 that, on July 23, 1957, his birth certificate was revised.

The story of how Michael became Martin began in 1934 when King’s father, who then was known as the Rev. Michael King or M.L. King, was senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church and a prominent minister in Atlanta. In the summer of 1934, King’s church sent him on a whirlwind trip. He traveled to Rome, Tunisia, Egypt, Jerusalem and Bethlehem before setting sail to Berlin, where he would attend a Baptist World Alliance meeting, according to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.

By DeNeen L. Brown

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