Why did Michael Luther King change his name?

Answered by Ricardo McCardle

Michael Luther King changed his name to Martin Luther King for several reasons. The decision was made by his father, who was a pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. In 1934, his father traveled to Germany and was deeply inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther.

The influence of Martin Luther’s teachings on his father was profound, leading him to have a newfound appreciation for the principles and values that Martin Luther stood for. As a result, he decided to change not only his own name but also that of his young son, Michael.

By changing their names to Martin Luther King Sr. and Martin Luther King Jr., they were paying homage to Martin Luther and his significant contributions to the Protestant Reformation. It was a way for them to align themselves with the ideals of justice, equality, and religious freedom that Martin Luther had championed.

Furthermore, the name change symbolized a transformation and a commitment to the principles of social justice and equality that Martin Luther King Sr. wanted to instill in his son. It was a way for him to pass on a legacy of advocacy and activism to the next generation.

The decision to change his name also had a practical aspect. Martin Luther King Jr. was growing up in a deeply segregated society, where racial discrimination and prejudice were prevalent. By adopting a name associated with a respected figure like Martin Luther, it could potentially command more respect and recognition within the African American community and beyond.

Changing his name to Martin Luther King also allowed him to distance himself from the commonness of the name “Michael.” It gave him a unique and memorable identity, which could be advantageous in his future endeavors as a leader and spokesperson for the civil rights movement.

Michael Luther King changed his name to Martin Luther King as a tribute to the influential figure of Martin Luther and his commitment to justice and equality. It also served as a way for his father to impart a sense of purpose and activism to his son, while potentially providing him with a distinct identity in a racially segregated society.