Dexter Scott King, the youngest son of civil rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, died on January 22, 2024, after a three-year battle with prostate most cancers. King, recognized for advocating for marginalized communities, continued his dad and mom’ legacy of civil and human rights activism.
Born in Atlanta on January 30, 1961, he was named after the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Alabama, the place his father, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., had served as pastor. Rising up through the civil rights motion, he incessantly joined his father and brother, Martin Luther King III, at public talking occasions. These early experiences ingrained in him the significance of his father’s dedication to nonviolent activism.
Dexter King’s youth was formed by vital private tragedies. On the age of seven, he misplaced his father, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to an murderer’s bullet in 1968, and at 13, his grandmother, Alberta Williams King, was additionally assassinated. These occasions deeply influenced his dedication to the ideas of nonviolent activism. Reasonably than deterring him, these losses strengthened King’s resolve to proceed and increase upon his father and mom’s work in civil and human rights.
King adopted in his household’s footsteps by enrolling at Morehouse School in 1979 to check enterprise administration. Nevertheless, breaking with custom set by 4 generations of King males, he left earlier than incomes his diploma. In 1989, at 28, King grew to become president of the King Heart for Nonviolent Social Change. On this function, he labored to rework the middle right into a hub for nonviolent protest and activism. He launched progressive methods to boost the middle’s function within the civil rights and social justice actions.
Past his work on the heart, Dexter King served because the chief govt officer of the King Property, overseeing the administration of the licensing of Martin Luther King Jr.’s picture and likeness. He actively pursued authorized actions in opposition to companies and media entities that utilized Martin Luther King Jr.’s quotations and pictures with out acceptable authorization. Dexter King performed an important function within the 2005 sale of the King Papers to the Metropolis of Atlanta for $32 million, a transfer that ensured the preservation and accessibility of his father’s legacy for future generations.
Dexter King additionally pursued pursuits within the arts, specializing in performing and movie manufacturing. Within the 1999 Emmy-nominated animated movie “Our Buddy, Martin,” he was one of many actors who voiced Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Alongside actors akin to Angela Bassett, Whoopi Goldberg, Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, and Oprah Winfrey, King helped deliver Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s story to life by way of animation. The movie is now extensively utilized in instructional settings to show younger college students about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.
As well as, King is remembered for increasing his advocacy past human rights to incorporate animal welfare and environmental sustainability. He was an ardent advocate for animal rights, who noticed animal welfare as a key part of the broader social justice motion. King’s adoption of a vegan life-style mirrored his dedication to compassion and justice throughout species.
Dexter King is survived by his spouse of 11 years, Leah Weber King; his siblings, Martin Luther King III and Rev. Bernice King; and his niece, Yolanda Renee King. The King household’s dedication to social justice and equality stays a big affect within the ongoing wrestle for a extra equitable and compassionate world.