MLK's Children Look Forward to the Future

Committed to the battles of truth and justice, Martin Luther King Jr. made the ultimate sacrifice.  A champion for equal rights, he gave his life to the cause.

In a recent interview, Martin King III recalled a conversation he had with civil rights activist Hosea Williams, who explained how Dr. King could make such an extraordinary commitment to the movement.

"He said, 'I loved this man. He did something I just totally admire.  He conquered the love of wealth, and the fear of death,'" King said.

Martin King said wealth was not something his father strove for.

"He knew you needed money to do the things that he did, but he really didn't care much about money at all, and then he was not afraid to die," King said. "When you're at that level, you're virtually unstoppable."

Armed with these qualities, Martin Luther King Jr. pursued a progressive policy agenda.

"He had a vision for our nation and our world, for justice and righteousness and truth," Martin King said. "He advocated for it, and actually executed it many times."

Dr. King and his team of activists were the catalyst behind the voting rights, civil rights acts, and fair housing legislation.  It's a legacy the King family has protected for 40-years - a tradition of activism King's daughter Bernice wants to sustain through young people.

"When we talk about sustaining something, it's important that those who are younger understand the history, and understand the sacrifice and the contributions not just to understand it but to become a participant," she said.

To awaken what Bernice calls the greatness in the next generation, she created a scholarship at Spellman College in Atlanta called 'Be A King.'

"Because when you think of Kings they have kingdoms, something they are responsible for they assure that people are taken care of," she said.

The scholarship is in honor of her mother Coretta Scott King, who plays a significant role in the King legacy.  After all, she led the labor march through Memphis on behalf of striking sanitation workers just four days after her husband was killed.  She created the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, and instilled in her children a sense of activism.

"We read it with dad and we learned about dad, and had dad's example," Bernice King said. "It was mother who instilled that in us."

Soon there will be another King striving to win a victory on humanity's behalf. Martin King said he and wife Andrea will name their daughter Yolanda, in honor of his sister, who died in 2007.

Yolanda would have been Martin Luther King, Jr.'s first grandchild, and her father is hopeful his daughter will embrace the responsibility of her birthright.

"It's my hope that we will raise her in such a way that she will have the commitment," Martin said.

Martin and Bernice King say their father was more than a man with dreams - he was a visionary, who knew how to make his dreams a reality, through faith and his commitment to non-violence.