MLK’s Daughter On Why Her Father’s Legacy Is Important Now More Than Ever

AUSTIN, TX - APRIL 9: Bernice A. King, CEO of the King Center, introduces the panel, Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement: Views from the Front Line, on the second day of the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library April 9, 2014 in Austin, Texas. The summit is marking the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Civil Rights Act legislation, with U.S. President Barack Obama making the keynote speech on April 10.  (Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX – APRIL 9: Bernice A. King, CEO of the King Center, introduces the panel, Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement: Views from the Front Line, on the second day of the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library April 9, 2014 in Austin, Texas. The summit is marking the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Civil Rights Act legislation, with U.S. President Barack Obama making the keynote speech on April 10. (Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images)

The Rev. Bernice King believes that if her father, the legendary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., were to reflect on the state of race in America today, he wouldn’t express shock or surprise.

“He would be disappointed that America as a whole did not take heed to some of the things that he encouraged us to do as a nation, which was to wipe out the last vestiges of racism,” King told The Huffington Post in an interview ahead of MLK Day.

Her father’s wish may have been a tall order, but it was one he believed was possible to achieve, in large part, through unconditional acts of love and kindness. As we commemorate MLK Day on Monday and as we enter a political era that has welcomed racism, King says now is a time, more than ever, for all Americans to reflect on and uphold these lessons in achieving equality that her father proudly preached.

“Daddy taught us through his philosophy of nonviolence, which placed love at the centerpiece, that through that love we can turn enemies into friends,” she said. “Through that love, we can create more dignified atmospheres.”

The elder King rose to prominence in the civil rights era of the 1960s, during which he expressed an unwavering faith in achieving equality and fought relentlessly to dismantle injustice. In doing so, he expressed great courage as he spoke about love and unity in the face of racial hate. His preaching was not always well-received and, at a time when black people were frequently subjected to violence from white people on account of race alone, King and other civil rights heroes put their livelihoods in great jeopardy to promote intolerance of such acts of evil.

Ultimately, it was hate that fueled the actions that led to Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination on April 4, 1968 ― but the younger King, who was only 5 years old at the time, says it was her father’s uplifting message around love that allowed his legacy to live on forever.

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Source: Black Voices | Lilly Workneh