How Three Generations of Women Continue MLK’s Legacy
Apr 3, 2018
Fifty years after his death, the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. lives on thanks to the work of three generations of women in his family: his wife, Coretta Scott King, his daughter, Bernice King, and his only grandchild, Yolanda Renee King.
Coretta Scott King, the wife of the civil rights leader, continued her husband's work by opening the King Center just two months after her husband was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968. Though she was didn't often take the main stage, she was a driving force in preserving King's legacy and advocating for women's empowerment up until her death in 2006.
"Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul," Coretta Scott King has said.
Bernice King, the civil rights leader's youngest child, has led a prominent life of activism, following in the footsteps of her parents. In 2009, Bernice—who is also a minister like her father—became the first woman to be elected as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Today, her fight for equality continues through her work at the King Center where she amplifies her father's mission to pursue nonviolent social change.
Yolanda Renee King, the 9-year-old granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr., recently stole the spotlight at the March for Our Lives event. The youngest King, standing alongside Parkland school shooting survivor Jaclyn Corin, delivered an inspirational message from the main stage in Washington D.C.
"My grandfather had a dream that his four little children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character," Yolanda told the crowd on March 24. "I have a dream that enough is enough, and that this should be a gun-free world."
The young activist then started a chant among the 800,000 protesters in the crowd: "Spread the word. Have you heard? All across the nation. We are going to be a great generation."