Bernice King

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Bernice King
Bernice King speaks at the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial dedication on the National Mall in Washington.png
Bernice King speaks at the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial dedication on the National Mall in Washington on October 16, 2011.
Born(1963-03-28) March 28, 1963 (age 50)
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
OccupationCurrently President-Elect of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
ParentsMartin Luther King
Coretta Scott King
 
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Bernice King
Bernice King speaks at the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial dedication on the National Mall in Washington.png
Bernice King speaks at the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial dedication on the National Mall in Washington on October 16, 2011.
Born(1963-03-28) March 28, 1963 (age 50)
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
OccupationCurrently President-Elect of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
ParentsMartin Luther King
Coretta Scott King

Bernice Albertine King (born March 28, 1963) is an American Baptist minister. She is the second daughter and youngest child of civil rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Coretta Scott King.[1] Her older siblings are Martin Luther King III, Dexter Scott King, and the late Yolanda Denise King. Bernice was only five years old when her father died and is the only King child to have become a minister.

Early life[edit]

When her father was assassinated, she was asleep. When she woke up, her mother difficultly tried to explain to her what would happen the next time she saw him, which would be at his funeral.[2]

Schooling and careers[edit]

King is a graduate of Douglass High School in Atlanta, attended Grinnell College in Iowa, and graduated from Spelman College with a degree in psychology. She is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, as was her mother.

Ebony magazine named her one of their Ten of Tomorrow future leaders of the black community.

King says she once considered suicide before God intervened. At the age of 24, she decided to become a minister, and she received a Master's degree in Divinity from the Candler School of Theology and a Juris Doctor in Law from Emory University School of Law. King is a member of the State Bar of Georgia.[3]

She is a former elder at New Birth, resigning in May 2011.[4]

In 1996, King published a collection of her sermons and speeches called Hard Questions, Heart Answers.[5]

In 2000, she narrated a performance of Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Kiel.

Activities[edit]

SCLC[edit]

With her brother Martin Luther King III, she has played an active part in reforming the Southern Christian Leadership Conference once led by their father. When she was elected President and CEO of SCLC on October 30, 2009, a position previously held by both her father and brother, she became the first woman to lead the group, but discord in the organization has prevented her taking that position.[6]

Despite her excitement being "high", she noticed the SCLC's board of directors had started "ignoring" suggestions she made to "revitalize" the organization.[7] In January 2011, she stepped down as President, citing disagreements with the organization's leadership.

Homosexuality[edit]

In 2004, Bernice King participated in a march against same-sex marriage in Atlanta. This action was in contrast to the advocacy of her mother, Coretta Scott King and her older sister Yolanda Denise King, both longtime, outspoken supporters of gay rights. During Atlanta's 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally, King included LGBT people among the various groups who needed to come together to "fulfill her father’s legacy."[8] When speaking at Brown University in 2013, King made statements regarding her beliefs about the origins of marriage: "I believe that the family was created and ordained first and foremost by God, that He instituted the marriage, and that's a law that he instituted and not... that we instituted"[9] and about the origins of same-sex attraction: "I also don't believe everybody's born that way. I know some people have been violated. I know some people have unfortunately delved into it as an experiment".[10]

In regards to her view of her father's legacy, she has publicly stated that he would have been against gay marriage.[11]

Scholarship[edit]

On January 30, 2007, one year after the death of her mother Coretta Scott King, Bernice King founded the Be A King Scholarship at Spelman College, Georgia, in honor of her mother's legacy.[12] Bernice King donated $100,000 of her personal funds, while $75,000 was donated from Home Depot and $15,000 from New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. The scholarship will be awarded to two rising seniors at Spelman College who are majoring in music, education or psychology.

Abortion[edit]

King is pro-life and believes that life begins and should be protected by law since conception.[13]

King Center[edit]

In 2008, Bernice King and her brother, Martin Luther King III, filed suit over mismanagement of funds from the King Center against their brother Dexter Scott King, who then filed a countersuit against them. Dexter King articulated his distress at Bernice King's conservative religious views as departing from their father's legacy.[14] In October 2009 the lawsuits were settled out of court.

In January 2012 Bernice King was named CEO of the King Center.[15] When Vice President Joe Biden aligned with her in celebrating a "naturalization ceremony" for an estimated hundred immigrants on November 16, 2013, she displayed distaste for the terms "illegal aliens" and illegals".[16]

Public speaking[edit]

King has been asked to speak around the world. At 17, she was invited to speak at the United Nations in the absence of her mother. In June 2006, five months after her mother died, Bernice made it known to a number of teenagers during the panel discussion for the age group at the 20th annual 100 Black Men of America conference in Atlanta that she intended to continue the legacy of nonviolence that had been attributed to her parents.[17] On the subject of a "civil rights museum", Bernice and Martin Luther III believe it should be near Ebenezer Baptist Church and the King Center, the latter being where both of their parents are buried.[18] On January 20, 2009, she joined her brother Martin Luther King III on CNN's "The Situation Room" to discuss the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.

On July 7, 2009, Bernice spoke alongside her brother Martin at the Staples Center in Los Angeles at a ceremony commemorating the life of Michael Jackson.

On October 16, 2011, King mentioned at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial opening that the memorial had been in the making for a lengthy amount of time and a "priority" for her mother.[19] She and her brother Martin Luther King III support Occupy Wall Street protests.[20]

She responded to the State of Florida v. George Zimmerman verdict on July 15, 2013 via a CNN appearance with Wolf Blitzer. She clarified that of a tweet she had posted on Twitter, and explained that the handling of the verdict would "determine how much progress we've made".[21] She spoke at a town hall meeting dedicated to Trayvon Martin[22] and has admitted to having been "heartbroken" by the verdict.[23] On August 28, 2013, the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington, which her father took part in, Bernice spoke and related that the denizens of the United States were "still bound by a cycle of civil unrest and inherit social biases, in our nation and the world, that often times degenerates into violence and destruction". Despite this, she admitted to being pleased to see many young people and women at the event, noting that was not the case during the March on Washington itself.

She spoke at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida fundraiser on October 29, where she encouraged involvement in the lives of children.[24]

Activism[edit]

King was arrested with her mother Coretta and her brother Martin Luther King III on June 26, 1985 with the offense of "demonstrating" in front of an embassy. The three stayed in jail overnight.[25]

Honors[edit]

On December 14, 2007, at the State Bar of Georgia Headquarters, Bernice King was honored by the Georgia Alliance of African American Attorneys with the "Commitment to Community" award for her work as an attorney and community leader.

On November 7, 2013, as part of the "Celebrating the Dream”, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the I Have a Dream speech done by her father, King received the Legend Award as a tribute to his legacy and after she delivered a speech.[26]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ See, Garrow, David J., Bearing the Cross,(New York: William Morrow & Co., 1986), p. 236
  2. ^ "Moving out of the dreamer's shadow: A King daughter's long journey". CNN. August 25, 2013. 
  3. ^ Ms. Bernice Albertine King, State Bar of Georgia
  4. ^ "Bernice King Departs Eddie Long's Mega Church". www.wsbtv.com. Retrieved 2012-08-07. 
  5. ^ Hard Questions, Heart Answers, ISBN 978-0767900379
  6. ^ June 29, 2010 12:49 PM (2010-06-29). "Rev. Bernice King Says Conflict is 'Suffocating' SCLC - BCNN1". Blackchristiannews.com. Retrieved 2012-08-07. 
  7. ^ Richards, Doug (January 21, 2011). "Bernice King Says SCLC Board Wanted 'Figurehead' Leader". 11Alive News. 
  8. ^ "Bernice King’s gay-inclusive speech at MLK rally surprises LGBT participants – LGBTQ Nation". Lgbtqnation.com. Retrieved 2012-08-07. 
  9. ^ King, Bernice. "Advancing The Dream (93:32)". Brown University Webcast. Brown University. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  10. ^ King, Bernice. "Advancing The Dream (94:01)". Brown University Webcast. Brown University. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  11. ^ Williams, Brandt (January 16, 2005). ""What would Martin Luther King do?"". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  12. ^ Be A King Scholarship, Spelman College
  13. ^ Pro-life Concerns Mentioned at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Catholic Online, 21 January 2012
  14. ^ Keefe, Bob (2008-08-21). "King family lawsuit called ‘disheartening’". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2012-08-07. "Dexter King sues his brother and sister" 
  15. ^ "Bernice King named CEO of the King Center". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Jan 10 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-07. 
  16. ^ ""Bernice King speaks out on immigration during Joe Biden's visit to Atlanta". Atlanta Daily World. November 16, 2013. 
  17. ^ ""King Daughter Vows Advocacy of Nonviolence"". June 11, 2006. 
  18. ^ ""King children want museum by grave"". Los Angeles Times. November 5, 2006. 
  19. ^ "Thousands Gather for MLK Memorial Dedication". The Wall Street Journal. October 16, 2011. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  20. ^ Vaughn, Alexa (October 17, 2011). ""A memorial fit for a King"". Los Angeles Times. 
  21. ^ "Bernice King: "We are not at a post-racial society"". July 15, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  22. ^ "Bernice King speaks at Trayvon Martin town hall meeting". July 18, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  23. ^ "Bernice King on Zimmerman: Lives of certain Americans cost less than others". October 14, 2013. 
  24. ^ Cravey, Beth (October 30, 2013). "Bernice King's message at Boys & Girls Clubs event: Get involved in the life of a child". Jacksonville.com. 
  25. ^ ""King's Widow Arrested in Apartheid Protest"". June 27, 1985. 
  26. ^ ""Ethiopian Airlines CEO Wins Planet African Award"". November 7, 2013. 

References[edit]