Christine King Farris, the only living sibling of Dr. Martin Luther King, died today, June 29, at the age of 95. She was the last surviving sibling of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Much like her brother, the accomplished King family matriarch was intensely involved in developing civil rights philosophy and policy and was a stellar and admired advocate for justice.
Farris sat faithfully very Sunday morning in the front pews of Ebenezer Church -old and new, she wielded impactful influence over the King legacy, including how it would continue into the future.
Following the assassination of her brother, the devoted sister refused to ever return to Memphis, Tennessee after she received her brother’s body.
She told PBS in an earlier interview those reminders of his murder were everywhere she turned, even after decades. “There’s no way to get away from it,” Farris, a professor at Spelman College for more than 50 years explained.
The veteran fighter for justice, whose remarkable composure through every moment of the civil rights movement, remained rooted in “the dream.”
Martin Luther King III, Rev. Bernice King’s brother, also remembered his aunt, writing on Twitter, “Aunt Christine embodied what it meant to be a public servant,” and that his aunt, just like his dad, spent her life fighting for equality and against racism.
“She defied the odds that held back too many marginalized communities – going on to become a civil rights leader and acclaimed author,” he wrote.
“We will truly miss my Aunt but know that she leaves behind a tremendous legacy that will outlive us all and we commit to carrying that legacy on for future generations,” MLK III added.
Farris and sister-in-law Coretta King established a memorial library “documenting Dr. King’s journey and the civil rights movement.
In a statement following her death, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens called Farris a “champion of literacy and education.”
“Mrs. Farris was a force in her own right,” the mayor said. “As the last of the King siblings, she spent much of her life advocating for equality. She once said that her brother Martin, simply gave us the blueprint, but it was our duty ‘to carry it out.”
Farris endured several personal tragedies including the death of her mother, Alberta Williams King, who was shot inside the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1974 and her youngest brother, A.D. King’s drowning on 1969.
Farris wrote several books reflecting on her historic family and life, including a memoir, “Through It All,” and a children’s book, “My Brother Martin.”