adult and child standing in front of MLK Jr. quote

The King Family Legacy

January 17, 2024

We all hope that our families will live out our legacies and do amazing things to make us proud. But some families take it to a whole new level! While there is no end to the inspiration we can garner from Martin Luther King, Jr., his legacy did not stop there. In honor of MLK Day, and as we head into Black History Month, we’re taking a look at some of MLK’s family and the impressive work they’ve done as well.

Many members of MLK Jr.’s family have made an indelible impact, each carrying on his legacy in their own unique ways. Here are some of the ways the King family’s legacy lives on.

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King, MLK Jr.’s wife, was an influential civil rights leader and author of three books. She published My Life With Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1969 and The Words of Martin Luther King Jr., in 1983. She also wrote, My Life, My Love, My Legacy, which was published posthumously with the help of Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds in 2017. Coretta carried on her husband’s work via her activism, dedication to civil rights, and ensuring that future generations could read and know their important story. She also passed this passion on to her children.  

Yolanda Denise King

The eldest daughter, Yolanda, set the stage for the King children (quite literally). She grew up to be an actress, activist, and motivational speaker. Some of her most notable theatrical performances were in, Ghosts of Mississippi (1996) and Selma, Lord, Selma (1999). Both movies depicted stories of the civil rights movement.

Martin Luther King III

Like his parents, MLK’s eldest son has advocated for equality, civil rights, and nonviolent social change. He held leadership positions such as President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference from 1997 to 2004. This organization was co-founded by his father and played a significant role in the civil rights movement. He’s been dedicated to actively engaging in and fostering dialog in communities all around the country.

Dexter Scott King

The second son, Dexter, has not been as well-known as some of his siblings, but he has been influential behind the scenes. Within the entertainment industry, he’s helped to manage the King family’s intellectual property. This helping to preserve and promote the family’s legacy for future generations. He’s also been active in civil rights and social causes, speaking out on issues of nonviolence and equality.

Bernice Albertine King

Bernice, the younger daughter, is a minister and attorney who is currently serving as CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, commonly known as The King Center, in Atlanta, Georgia. She continues her father’s work in her own way, leading initiatives for social justice, civil rights, and equality.

On this MLK Jr. Day, as we honor Dr. King’s legacy and his undeniable impact on American history, we also salute his family and their continued contributions. Let us all learn from their timeless lessons and be inspired to lead legacies of peace, respect, and kindness.