During this passage through time there are milestones, mountains, and valleys that everyone will encounter. I would be hard press to think of a family with more adversity than the King Family.
Most people know the amazing stories of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They know about his most famous speech, his legendary marches and the principals by which he lived his life. What most people do not know is what happened to his family. There are stories about the numerous tragedies endured by the Kennedy family, but after reading this, you might know that the King family could give them a run for their money as it relates to heartbreak.
Alberta King, Dr. King’s mother, was shot and killed in 1974 while playing the organ at her church. The shooting was allegedly done by a 23-year old black man by the name of Marcus Wayne Chenault. Chenault didn’t give any reason for the shooting, except to say that “all Christians are my enemies.” Martin’s father, who was his greatest inspiration long before he learned from the teachings of Gandhi, lived a long life, dying at the age of 84.
Shortly after Dr. King’s death in 1968, Martin’s brother Alfred became co-pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where his father and brother preached. In July of 1969, just a few days before his 39th birthday, Alfred was found dead in a swimming pool. The case was ruled as an accidental drowning, but many speculate something more sinister might have happened. According to his father, he was a good swimmer.
The sacrifice of the King family is indicative of the tremendous sacrifice made by those who have fought for the freedom of African Americans over the last 400 years. From the first runaway slave to today, the battle continues and it usually has a price.
Teach this lesson to your children. Tell them in the oral tradition of our ancestors and our march to freedom because our struggle is without question the greatest story ever told. Remind them that they stand on the shoulders of giants and they have a responsibility to continue the difficult journey as was done for them. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…