Cool Name of the Week: Louisa 28210

What other choice would there be for today? My girls have spent a lot of time over the last few days talking with me about why Martin Luther King is so important—a talk which brought us to all kinds of injustices that people have fought against and won, from the right to vote here to equality for everyone. We've even done some research to find out how they would have been treated back then, as people of Chinese descent, if they were in the South—and it turns out, in some places, they would have had to sit in the back of the bus and use "colored" water fountains and schools. I'm feeling very fortunate today for Martin Luther King's influence.

Martin is a Latin name that means "warlike," which makes sense considering how fiercely he battled for equal rights (of course, he didn't actually use violence to make his points, so he was a more peaceful kind of warrior). Paired with his middle name, Luther, MLK's name is a homage to the creator of Protestantism, one of the other most famous Martins. It's a name that's been used for past presidents (Martin Van Buren), actors (Martin Sheen, Martin Lawrence and Martin Short), and of course, a director (that's Scorsese).

Martin hovered near the top spot for centuries, but recently started a minor decline this century (it's number 262 in the U.S. right now). But in other countries—particularly in Europe—it's still in the top slots.

As a shorter name, Martin can pair well with either short or long middle names, depending on the length of the surname. I like it with Theodore and Jackson, or with short names like Charles and Grant.

What do you think of Martin as a boy's name? Would it be one you'd pick for your son? If you need help picking out a baby name for your son or daughter, don't forget to e-mail me at

Photo: Pregnant woman via Ronald Summers/