Yolanda Denise King, 1955-2007 | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Yolanda Denise King, 1955-2007

The eldest daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Coretta Scott King, passed away Tuesday night in Santa Monica, California. She was 51.

From CBSNews.com:

A spokesman for the King Center says the family does not know the cause of death but suspects it might have been a heart problem.

The death comes just over a year after the death of her mother, Coretta Scott King - a civil rights leader in her own right - at the age of 78, of complications from ovarian cancer, and after a battle with the effects from a stroke.

The children of Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King - Yolanda Denise, Martin Luther III, Dexter Scott, and Bernice Albertine - have each in their own way worked to carry on their parents' work fighting for racial equality and social justice.

Born on Nov. 17, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, King was just an infant when her home was bombed during the turbulent civil rights era.

As an actress, she appeared in numerous films and even played civil rights heroine Rosa Parks in the 1978 miniseries "King." She founded a production company called Higher Ground Productions.

Speaking last January in Atlanta at Ebenezer Baptist Church - where her father preached for many years - Yolanda exhorted those observing the national holiday that bears his name to remember that America has not yet achieved peace and racial equality.

"We must keep reaching across the table and, in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, feed each other," said Yolanda, urging those who honor the Kings' work to question their own beliefs on prejudice and be a personal force for peace and love.

Previous Comments

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112884
Comment

Here is a link to her Web site. If you're at work, you may want to turn your speakers down because the site has music on it.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2007-05-16T06:53:43-06:00
ID
112885
Comment

God bless her. She's in Heaven with her mom and dad, where race is no longer an issue. Thanks for the work you've done, and for reminding us that we still have a long way to go down here.

Author
Lady Havoc
Date
2007-05-16T09:00:02-06:00
ID
112886
Comment

So sad. Maybe Dexter will start acting like he has some sense now that his oldest and likely closest siblings is gone. He was the only King child who didn't show up for the M. L. King groundbreaking on the National Malls several months ago. I won't even tell y'all why he didn't show up.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2007-05-16T09:43:03-06:00
ID
112887
Comment

Yolanda King Slideshow

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2007-05-16T16:18:49-06:00
ID
112888
Comment

From the Boston Herald: ATLANTA - Yolanda King, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s eldest child who pursued her father’s dream of racial harmony through drama and motivational speaking, collapsed and died...Former Mayor Andrew Young, a lieutenant of her father’s who has remained close to the family, said King was going to her brother Dexter’s home when she collapsed in the doorway.... Funeral arrangements would be announced later, the family said in a brief statement.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2007-05-16T21:20:50-06:00
ID
112889
Comment

The memorial service was today. ATLANTA -- Hundreds gathered Thursday to mourn Yolanda "Yoki" Denise King, the eldest daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. who carried his legacy through her art and activism. Her sister, Bernice, and brothers Martin and Dexter each lit a candle in her memory. Several veterans of the civil rights struggle attended, including Rep. John Lewis, former Atlanta Mayor Andrew and the Rev. Joseph Lowery. Yolanda King died May 15 in California after collapsing. Many in attendance did not know the 51-year-old actress, producer and motivational speaker, but came to pay tribute to the King family's legacy of nonviolence and social justice. She was eulogized at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her father preached from 1960 until his death in 1968. "She dealt with the difficulty of personal pain and public responsibility and yet ... she emerged from it all victorious," said the Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer. "Thank you for her voice." Poet Maya Angelou wrote a tribute that was read during the memorial service. "Yolanda proved daily that it was possible to smile while wreathed in sadness," Angelou wrote. "In fact, she proved that the smile was more powerful and sweeter because it had to press itself through mournfulness to be seen, force itself through cruelty to show that the light of survival shines for us all."

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2007-05-24T16:36:57-06:00

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