The Power Behind a Name: Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today, as a nation, we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. (although his actual birthday is January 15). That got me to thinking about his name. —by Julie Hackett, Onomastics Guru and Owner/Author of OhBabyNames.com
I’m obsessed with Sigmund Freud’s quote: “A human being’s name is a principal component in his person, perhaps a piece of his soul.” I wanted to see what MLK, Jr.’s name said about him. The answer to this seemingly simple question really blew my socks off.
Bet let’s back up.
It’s a little known fact that King wasn’t born with the name Martin Luther on his birth certificate. He was born Michael King, Jr. on January 15, 1929. His father (Michael Senior) later changed his own name (as well as Junior’s) to Martin Luther after the 16th century German theologian - the man who basically sparked the Protestant Revolution with his radical idea that salvation was God’s gift to mankind through Jesus Christ and wasn’t something “earned” through good deeds (this posed a major problem for the Catholic Church, an institution steeped in the practice of accepting money in return for providing absolution of sin). In any case, Martin Luther was/is a highly honored man among evangelical Christians. It was he who inspired MLK, Sr. Michael King, Jr. was a little more than five years old when he was given his new name - from one revolutionary to another.
What’s remarkable about this name change is that it did not change MLK’s Destiny Number (a numerology calculation). In fact, Michael King and Martin Luther King both calculate to a Master #11 Destiny Path. Master Elevens are on a life journey to find spiritual truth. They are extremely idealistic and intuitive. Elevens have a rare and exceptional spiritual energy that brings a sense of obligation to illuminate the world around them. It’s a very powerful responsibility, but these people have far more potential than they know. It’s important that they surrender to higher ideals. They have the capacity to see the bigger picture, and they possess the skills to inspire others spiritually. Elevens have strong diplomatic skills and can become great peacemakers. Coincidence? I think not.
This is not the only clue we have in MLK’s name that he was predestined for greatness. The meanings behind each of his individual names are similarly apropos when you consider the man’s contribution to humanity - his leadership, his bravery, his revolutionary ideals, a god-like man of war (albeit a peaceful, non-violent war). All of his names scream leadership - LEADERSHIP OF PEOPLE. Not of a kingdom. But of humanity.
: a name from the Latin Martinus in reference to
MARS, THE ROMAN GOD OF WAR and one of the most prominent of all gods in Roman mythology. The name Martin became very popular in medieval times due to the growing cult and popularity of a 4th century saint, St. Martin of Tours, who is mainly remembered for having cut his coat in two and humbly giving one half to a poor beggar. It is said that Martin later dreamed of Jesus wearing half his coat and saying to the angels: "Here is Martin, the Roman soldier; …he has clad me." This story was very popular in the Middle Ages as an example of Christian piety.
a name derived
from the Ancient Germanic Leuthar
meaning THE PEOPLE’S ARMY, from the Old High German elements liut
meaning PEOPLE and hari
meaning ARMY. This name was popularized by evangelical Protestants in honor of the 16th century German theologian Martin Luther whose famous 95 theses nailed to the church door is credited with sparking the Protestant Reformation.
: an English vocabulary word describing a MALE MONARCH, from the Olde English cyning
meaning KING, RULER (cf. Olde English cynn
meaning FAMILY, RACE, KIN), original meaning: LEADER OF THE PEOPLE; also OF NOBLE BIRTH. King is also an English surname derived from a nickname given to someone who conducted himself in a regal or kingly manner.
And even his original name Michael
is fitting. Michael was the archangel who sat closest to God. He was a protector of people, the patron saint of soldiers and the one who hurled the dragon from heaven.
Once again we find proof in the power of names.
Freud was right.