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What was Martin Luther King Jr.’s original name? Why it changed

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“Michael King Day.”

Doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it?

Great names go with great deeds. So maybe Michael King Sr. knew what he was doing when — in 1934 — he made a momentous change. Or rather two.

He would thereafter be known as the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. His 5-year-old son -— also a Michael — would be Martin Luther King Jr.

What? You didn’t know that “Martin” was not MLK’s given name?

“[King Sr.’s] mother insisted that she named him Michael, after the archangel Michael,” said King scholar Patrick Parr, author of “The Seminarian: Martin Luther King Jr. Comes of Age.” 

That MLK was not born MLK might be news to some — as we prepare to celebrate our 36th federal Martin Luther King Day on Monday.

But the name change is worth thinking about. It says a lot about the man, the values of his family, and the larger meaning of what he did.

“Symbolically, it matters, and it adds a certain historical gravitas to his name,” Parr said.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther — the original Martin Luther (1483-1546)  — was, of course, the founder of the Protestant Church. The Baptist sect, one of its branches, was the denomination of King Sr. and Jr. — one of whom succeeded the other as pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Luther was a rebel. “Here I stand, I can do no other,” he famously said.

The very name — Protestant — has “protest” built into it. His church valued individual conscience, standing up to oppressive authority — which, in the 16th century, was the Catholic Church. 





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As questions mount over Texas school shooting response time, officer says police moved quickly: Live updates

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A Texas officer sought to reassure the public that immediate efforts were made to stop a gunman. Live Uvalde, Texas, school shooting updates.

      



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Boys & Girls Clubs Names NJ Teens Youth of Year

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High school sophomore Trinity Campbell is an artist, foodie, fashion designer. She loves singing and meeting new people, and prides herself on keeping an upbeat attitude—in spite of the challenges she has faced, including homelessness and bullying while in middle school.

“It was hard to pull through,” the teen says. “I always tried to see the light at the end of the tunnel…. I usually try to keep a smile every day. If something is going wrong at home or something, I try to be positive and not let it negatively affect me.”

Campbell, an active member of the Hudson County branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, has been named the organization’s New Jersey Youth of the Year for her leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to living a healthy lifestyle. She takes home a $12,500 college scholarship and now goes on to compete for the organization’s regional title and, ultimately, the national title.

“Trinity has overcome so many obstacles in her life and has risen above with this joyous spirit that is infectious,” says Janet Wallach, the director of program development and teen services for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County, adding, “She encourages all the teens to participate as much as she does. Trinity is front and center participating.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America—founded 160 years ago to provide a safe place for children and teens to learn, grow and have fun after school—also honors students who are part of military families with its annual awards program. In New Jersey, this year’s Military Youth of the Year honor goes to high school freshman Sabrina Nunez, a member of the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst McGuire Youth Programs for the last three years. Her father is in the U.S. Air Force.

Nunez, a student at the Burlington County Institute of Technology, aspires to own her own salon one day.

“She’s a strong, independent young lady,” says William Crockett, director of child and youth programs at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. “She’s a go-getter and participates in any way that she can.”

Nunez, who receives a $6,000 college scholarship, now advances in the regional and national competitions as well.

This year’s New Jersey Youth of the Year runners-up are Rawan Awadalla (Clifton), Julia Yankow (Hawthorne) and Chevaughn Williams (Paterson and Passaic).

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Frustrated onlookers, parents urged police to charge into Texas school: Live shooting updates

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Frustrated community members outside Robb Elementary School urged police to charge in. Live Uvalde, Texas school shooting updates.

      



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