Martin Luther King III, Civil Rights Activist, Global Humanitarian and Political Leader
As the oldest son of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King III has seized the torch lit by his parents and is continuing their quest for equality and justice for all people. Whether speaking to an audience in Mozambique or Mississippi, Israel or Indiana, his vision of the future has touched thousands. Motivating audiences around the world with his insightful message of hope and responsibility for nearly twenty years, Mr. King’s dedication to creating and implementing strategic nonviolent action to rid the world of social, political, and economic injustice has propelled him to the forefront as one of the nation’s most ardent advocates for the poor, the oppressed, and the disillusioned.
A human rights advocate, community activist and a political leader, Mr. King has been actively involved in significant policy initiatives to maintain the fair and equitable treatment of all citizens, at home and abroad. Utilizing the principles of Kingian nonviolence, Mr. King quietly exercised negotiation and persuasion to reach a compromise between Georgia legislators and leaders to change the state flag that was an offensive and divisive symbol for many Georgians.
His commitment to world-wide humanitarian concerns was exemplified in the late 1970’s when he was asked to represent President Jimmy Carter in two official delegations to promote peace in foreign countries. Later, in 1984, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Mr. King ventured to five poverty and drought-stricken African nations on a fact-finding tour. The outcome of the tour was the creation of the Africa Initiative, a program developed to end starvation in Africa. In the 1980’s, he turned his attention and his action to the injustices of South Africa and was arrested at the South African embassy in Washington, D.C. as part of a civil disobedience protest against apartheid, and for the release of freedom fighter Nelson Mandela. In the 1990’s, he addressed the moral and
political dilemmas of third-world nations such as Haiti and Nigeria. In 1996, he toured Great Britain, where he celebrated Black History Month and shared his father’s vision of justice and equality for all people.
In 2006, he founded the nonprofit organization Realizing the Dream, Inc., which eventually merged with The King Center in 2010. King shared his father’s message to a receptive global audience, spearheading nonviolence education workshops and programs in Bosnia Herzegovina, India, Israel & Palestine, Kenya, Sri Lanka and the United States. Through a mix of nonviolence conferences and youth development programming, Mr. King, Realizing the Dream, and other members of the GEN II Global Peace Initiative have spread Dr. King’s message to a new generation.
On the 43rd anniversary of his father’s assassination, Mr. King helped to lead nationwide demonstrations against initiatives to eliminate and undermine collective bargaining rights of public workers in Wisconsin and other states.
As a commemorative of the 44th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, Martin Luther King III re-purposed this day as one highlighting youth violence prevention as a public health issue. The April 4th Revisited: Saving Lives, Building Dreams was an initiative launched in collaboration with the CDC-funded Prevention Institute as a call-to-action to mark this as a day for building momentum for non-violence and peaceful communities nationwide.
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