Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an American hero, was named for a hero of his father’s, the religious reformer Martin Luther. King and his father were both originally named Michael, until the family traveled to Germany in the 1930s and King Sr. decided to change both his own name and his son’s to honor the original Martin Luther.
Despite Dr. King‘s stature in our country, few African-Americans today choose to name their children after him — perhaps because both Martin and Luther are a tad dated and refer so closely to the earlier white hero.
But other African-American heroes, historic and modern, from politics as well as sports and the arts, do inspire thousands of namesakes who can use their famous names as a guiding light for their lives.
Here are some African-American hero names that have been popular in recent years, along with a few fresh ideas:
BOOKER T. Washington
HENRY (HANK) Aaron
JADA Pinkett Smith
KIMORA Lee Simmons
Dr. MAE Jemison (astronaut)
PHILLIS Wheatley (early writer)
George WASHINGTON Carver
ZORA Neale Hurston