Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Who was Michael King?

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Michael King  was born to James King and Delia Linsey King in Stockbridge, Georgia, on December 19, 1899. He was the eldest of nine children. When he was young, he left Stockbridge and headed to Atlanta, where he eventually attended Ebenezer Baptist Church.

In 1926, after attending Dillard University, King began his ministerial degree at the Morehouse School of Religion. On Thanksgiving Day of that same year, he married Alberta Christine Williams. They were married in Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he would eventually become the Pastor.

Michael King was a staunch fighter for civil rights, dating back to the 1920′s. He was instrumental in ending Jim Crow laws in Georgia and helping teachers in Atlanta to get equal pay. He would eventually head the NAACP in Atlanta.

In 1934, Rev. King made a trip to the Holy Land and Europe, which included a visit to Berlin, Germany, where the Fifth Baptist World Alliance Congress was held. On this trip, he became inspired by the life of Martin Luther, the German theologian who led the Protestant Reformation. Rev. King would eventually change him name from Michael King to Martin Luther King.

In 1927, the Kings were blessed with a daughter, Willie Christine King. Then, in 1930, they had a son, Alfred Daniel Williams. The Kings treasured all of their children, but it was the son who was born in 1929, whom the world would never forget. His name was Michael Luther. After his father changed his name, Michael’s name was also changed.

Martin Luther King, Jr., like his father, would not only pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, but he would also graduate from Morehouse College and become a respected civil rights leader in his own right.

As I sit here in Germany, I find it ironic that I never knew this part of the life of this great man. I think learning it here is probably more than just a coincidence.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, America!

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to the world!

[Related post: Who is William Joseph Baxley II?]

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Lawrence D. Elliott is an author, whose work has appeared in many popular books, including four from the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He's also a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. He's also been interviewed for such radio shows as The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner. Lawrence is currently working as an Assistant Screenwriter on an indie film with Stagelight Productions. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting project. Connect with Lawrence D. Elliott at Google+.

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