Christine King Farris, siblings of Martin Luther King Jr., dies aged 95


ATLANTA (AP) — Christine King Farris, the last surviving sibling of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.died.

your niece, the Rev. Bernice KingShe tweeted that her “beloved aunt” passed away on Thursday. She was 95.

Decades after her murder of his brother in 1968Farris worked with his widow, Coretta Scott Kingto preserve and promote its legacy. But unlike her celebrity sister-in-law, Farris’ activism — and her grief — often played out behind the scenes.

“She may not have always been on the march line, but that has been the case with many civil rights heroes,” said Marcellus Barksdale, a history professor at Morehouse College in Farris, in a 2009 interview with The Associated Press. “Due to the luminescence of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King, Christine was kind of confused, but she was no less important.”

Farris was born Willie Christine King on September 11, 1927 in Atlanta. She was the first child of Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Christine Williams King.

Farris helped Coretta Scott King establish the King Center and helped teach Martin Luther King Jr philosophy of nonviolent resistance. For years, her regal, dignified presence was a mainstay at her brother’s birthday ecumenical service at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her grandfather and father also preached and Farris remained a member.

The King Center tweeted Thursday that it was mourning the loss of Farris, a founding board member, former vice chairman and treasurer, along with a photo of her.

Bernice King tweeted a photo of himself with Farris and wrote, “Love you and will miss you Aunt Christine.”

Martin Luther King III tweeted that he, his wife and daughter were able to spend time with his aunt in their final days.

“Aunt Christine embodied what it means to be a civil servant. Like my father, she has spent her life fighting for equality and against racism in America,” he tweeted. “She defied the odds that were holding too many marginalized communities back — and became a civil rights activist and acclaimed author. Aunt Christine knows adversity and used the tragedies of her mother’s and brother’s murders to fight for change in America.”

Farris outlived many of the people she loved, including her parents, her two brothers, her sister-in-law, and her niece Yolanda. She graduated from Spelman College with a degree in economics in 1948, the same day that Martin Luther King Jr. earned his sociology degree from Morehouse College.

A decade later, Farris returned to Spelman, where she worked for more than 50 years. In 1960 she married Isaac Newton Farris. The couple had two children, Angela Christine Farris Watkins and Isaac Newton Farris Jr.

Farris wrote two children’s books about her life: My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up With the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” and “March on! The day my brother Martin changed the world.” In 2009, she wrote her memoir entitled Through It All: Reflections on My Life, My Family and My Faith.

Farris often told stories about her brother as a normal child and young man to make him and his accomplishments more accessible to people.

“They think it just happened, that it seemed fully developed and out of context and ready to change the world,” she said.

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