The fourth of six children, Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence was born on April 16, 1965, in Frankfurt, West Germany, to American parents. His father, John Lawrence, was serving in the U. S. military at the time. Lawrence was named after civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and U. S. President John F. Kennedy. When Lawrence was seven, his father left the military and the family moved from Germany back to the United States, settling in Landover, Maryland, in the Washington, D. C. , area. After his parents divorced in 1973, Lawrence rarely saw his father, who was a police officer. His mother, Chlora (née Bailey), worked several jobs, including as a sales representative and cashier at various department stores, to support her family.
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