Martin Luther King III talks about how his father's legacy is 'frozen in time'

'It's a legacy of love'

February 26, 2021

February is Black History Month and we’ll be celebrating all month long by speaking with activists, politicians, historians, musicians, athletes, and more to highlight the history and contributions Black individuals have made to the culture and this country.

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Martin Luther King III, eldest son of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, is opening up about his father’s legacy and how he hopes to make changes in the world.

King III took part in a RADIO.COM LIVE Check In with RADIO.COM's Pat Prescott and said that his father’s legacy is one that sticks with him in his everyday life. “It’s a legacy of love,” he explained. “My mother and father instilled in me as a child to love yourself, to love your family, to have a love of your community, and to have a love of God. I feel like my wife and I are imparting that same vision onto our daughter.”

As for his own missions, King isn’t concerned so much with filling his father’s shoes as he is about creating his own lasting mark. “I have to do what Martin III feels that his missions is.”

His mission is simple in theory, but complicated in execution. “I’m still continuing that work to create, I would say, peace, equity, and justice in our nation and the world,” he said, remarking that it’s a similar vision to his father’s.

With the election of Joe Biden as President and Kamala Harris as Vice President in November of 2020, King has a new hope for the future of this country. “I’m excited about the prospect of where we can go as a nation,” he said.

Being only 10 years old when his father died, King began to speak on how the Martin Luther King Day holiday has affected him over the last 53 years since his father’s passing.

“Interestingly enough, the holiday itself, we have always defined it as a day on, not a day off,” King explains. “This is a day where you recommit yourself and your community to fulfilling the work that still has to be done.”

And with all of the recognition surrounding his father’s legacy, King admits, “It’s almost like Dad is frozen in time.”

On January 6, protesters raided the Capitol building in an attempt to overturn the election defeat of former President Donald Trump. King’s reaction to these events is a message of nonviolence much like his father’s. “As God’s highest creation – humankind - we can respond in a more civil and sane and responsible way. I think the philosophy of nonviolence is always a responsible way to bring about change,” he said.

“Human beings have the capacity to reason and to think, and yet, when we get ready to resolve conflict, we resort to lower animal means,” he continued. “Nonviolence teaches us how to coexist without destroying personal property. It teaches us dignity and respect.”

But when it comes to bringing about meaningful change in communities, women are key players. King credits his wife with the strength he’s found to keep fighting for what he believes in. “I can’t say enough about the leadership of women,” he said. “I can’t imagine that I could have gone through a lot of the challenges that I went through without having someone right beside me.”

Join us all month long to celebrate Black History Month with a special RADIO.COM LIVE Check In series. Find a full schedule of our upcoming conversations here.

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