- historical event: The father of the famed Nobel Prize winner Martin Luther King visited Germany in 1934, the birth place of Protestant reformer Martin Luther. After the visit, he decided to change both his own name and that of his five-year-old son to Martin Luther.
American human rights activist Martin Luther King, Sr. died on this day in 1984. He was the father of the famed Nobel Prize winner Martin Luther King, Jr. The elder King’s given name was Michael, and he gave his son the same name. Only when Michael King, Sr. visited Germany, birthplace of famous protestant reformer Martin Luther at the age of around 35. After the visit, he decided to change both his own name and that of his five-year-old son to Martin Luther.
It is especially interesting that the elder King visited Germany in 1934, when the Nazis were already in power there. King visited Germany on the occasion of the Baptist World Alliance congress in Berlin.
It is important to note that Martin Luther King, Sr. was a protestant pastor, just like his son. Indeed, both of them worked in the same church – the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta (capital of the U.S. state of Georgia). Furthermore, the elder King’s father-in-law was also a pastor there at one time.
A number of severe family tragedies befell Martin Luther King, Sr. Besides the well-known assassination of his son, his wife also fell victim to murder. She was killed in the very same church where the Kings served as pastors, by a young African American, allegedly while she was playing the organ in church. His younger son – Alfred Daniel Williams King – drowned in a pool.