This month’s Black Excellence piece concerns famous African Americans who either changed their names or had their names changed by someone else.
With your child, choose someone from this list and try to do a little independent research on that individual and the names they’ve had. Have a conversation with your family about these name changes and why they happened. After that, have a conversation about your own names, their meanings and the reasons why any of your names may have changed. You’ll discover that people change their names for many different reasons.
Did you know Martin Luther King, Jr’s name was changed when he was five years old? His father, for whom he was named, made a visit to a Baptist World Alliance convention in Berlin, Germany in 1934. While there, he learned about the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. King Sr was so impressed by Martin Luther that he changed his name from Michael to Martin. Even though Martin Jr’s name was changed when he was five, his birth certificate wasn’t amended until he was 28!
Note: If you have the TRJ Conversations cards, they can guide you in these discussions about names. Stay tuned for a new and improved edition of June in April conversation cards coming soon!