Martin Luther King Sr. was born in 1899 in Stockbridge, GA. He and his wife Alberta had three children: Rev. A.D. King, who drowned mysteriously in 1969 and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated in 1968. His only surviving offspring is Christine Farris, a retired educator now residing in Atlanta. He was the most beloved pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta for 44 years and this was where Dr. King Jr. was funeralized. The senior King was a civil rights leader in his own right. He led voting rights drives in Atlanta in the 1930’s at a time when public protests were met by violence and sometimes death. In 1976 and 1980 he delivered the invocation at the Democratic National Conventions. Meeting Pastor King taught me a lesson about forgiveness that remains with me today. A white man murdered his son Dr. King and a black man murdered his wife Alberta on a Sunday morning as she played the piano at Ebenezer. I asked him did he hate either of the killers or both. He told me, “I will never stoop low enough to hate. Never. I don’t feel bitterness in my heart against anybody. You cannot stoop any lower than hate. I don’t let hate penetrate my heart.” From that day forward I have worked to follow his example. If after all he had lost and did not hate, I certainly could do the same. Pastor King died of a heart attack on November 11, 1984.
Read more about Martin Luther King Sr. in our exclusive interview only available in my book, And Still We Rise.