Martin Luther King III is an historic icon, though his own story still has many more chapters to be written. He was born in 1957, the oldest son of two African-American civil rights activists. Sadly at the age of only 10, he and his three siblings lost their father, when he was murdered in cold blood. His father was only 39 years old when he was killed, and he had known at the time that others wanted him dead. Only the day before his death, our guest’s father specifically addressed the growing threats against his life saying, “I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop and I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And he’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as people, will get to the promised land. So I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
MLK III was forced to endure the loss of his father. And was raised by his mother in Atlanta. He eventually attended Morehouse College where his father also went.
And from there, he went on to make his own contributions to the legacy that his parents sought. He never feared standing up for justice, equity, fairness, and civil rights. He led countless movements, rallies and protests, including when he was arrested in the South African embassy in Washington, DC, is part of a civil disobedience protest against Apartheid and for the release of Nelson Mandela.
But his passions are as broad as they are deep. He has led protests against bias in the field of technology. And it’s spoken to the United Nations on behalf of individuals living with AIDS. He became the first of his family to attain political office, getting elected to the Fulton County commission.
He became the fourth president of the Southern Christian leadership conference. And he founded the nonprofit, Realizing The Dream Inc, where he spearheaded nonviolence education workshops and programs in Bosnia, Herzegovina, India, Israel, and Palestine, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and the United States. He earned the honor of speaking for Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, and also spoke at Michael Jackson’s funeral in 2009.
Our guest served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Martin Luther king Jr. Center in Atlanta. And he co-founded Bounce TV, the first ever independently owned and operated TV network featuring African Americans. He’s also served on the board of advisors of Let America Vote, an organization that fights against voter suppression.
He’s received numerous honorary degrees and awards, including the prestigious Ramakrishna Bajaj Memorial global award for the outstanding contributions he’s made to the promotion of human rights and the humanitarian award by the Montreal Black Film Festival. He was even given the honor of presenting the ceremonial coin at Superbowl 40 and throwing out the first pitch at the major league baseball civil rights game.
His father famously said, “I have a dream. That my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.” Today we have the privilege and opportunity to hear from one of those children about his father’s dream and much more.
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