Martin Luther King III
For the 2012 Slavery Remembrance Day events we welcomed Mr Martin Luther King III, eldest son of the great Civil Rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Our guest offered a powerful reminder that it is as important as ever to acknowledge a major period of trauma and injustice in world history.
On the eve of Slavery Remembrance Day Mr King gave the memorial lecture 'Fulfilling the dream, idols vs ideals' at St George's Hall . Read National Museums Liverpool Director David Fleming's introductory welcome speech (pdf).
The following day Mr King lead the Walk of Remembrance through Liverpool and attended events at the waterfront including a libation ceremony. He also unveiled a plaque to rename the Dock Traffic Office in memory of his father, in a special tribute to the King family.
Continuing his father's legacy
Martin Luther King III is the oldest son of Dr Martin Luther King Jr and Mrs Coretta Scott King and is carrying the torch lit by both his parents into the 21st century.
His father Dr King was one of the most important figures of the 20th Century and one of the greatest non-violent leaders in world history. In particular Dr King is known for his advancement of civil rights in America and the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Dr King’s tireless work in the campaign to fight human injustice ended tragically due to his assassination aged 39 in Memphis in 1968.
Like his father, Mr King is a human rights campaigner and community activist. He is a lifetime member of the Board of Directors and former President and CEO of The King Center in Atlanta Georgia.
Mr King is currently involved in global humanitarian efforts and voter registration initiatives throughout the United States and abroad.
A chance encounter
Mr King’s involvement in the Slavery Remembrance Day events in Liverpool came about following a chance meeting thousands of miles away.
Cheryl Magowan, Communities Senior Manager at National Museums Liverpool, was paying her respects at the gravesite of Dr Martin Luther King Jr and Mrs Coretta Scott-King at the King Center in Atlanta last year, when she met their eldest son, Mr Martin Luther King III.
"It was a powerful moment I’ll never forget, I sat, said a prayer and thought deeply about what the great Dr King did for black people and all of humanity, I looked up and standing in front of me was Mr King and his wife.
Then the King Center’s security guard Kevin, whom I’d made friends with earlier said: ‘Cheryl you’re blessed today, I’d like you to meet the boss man himself, Mr Martin Luther King III, Dr King’s son and his wife’.
I then invited Mr and Mrs King to visit Liverpool, the International Slavery Museum and to take part in Slavery Remembrance Day, which they graciously accepted."