Martin Luther King III on father’s legacy and what he would think about today’s divisiveness

Race in America

ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — He was just 10 years old when his father, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. Now, in 2021, Martin Luther King III is carrying on his father’s legacy through politics and activism.

In a video op-ed published Monday in The New York Times, King said his father “had another dream” and would be “greatly disappointed” if he saw some of the issues at play in 2021.

“We have allowed ourselves to become a divided state of American and not a United States of America,” King III said.

Black American civil rights leader Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968) addresses crowds during the March On Washington at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, where he gave his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

Part of King’s mission, he said, is to help people interpret the true meaning of what his dad said.

“Everybody takes a little piece of Martin Luther King and try to apply it to themselves,” King III said.

This issue was highlighted by his sister Bernice King who said in a tweet, “Please don’t act like everyone loved my father. He was assassinated. A 1967 poll reflected that he was one of the most hated men in America.”

2020 became a year of reckoning for race in America, especially after the killing of George Floyd. We asked King III what his father would have to say about the state of affairs in the U.S.

“We must become a nation of ideas, disagreeing without being disagreeable,” he said explaining one of the biggest challenges in the country today is poverty.

In his interview with NewsNation, King III praised the incoming administration and newly-elected Democratic Georgia senators, including Rev. Raphael Warnock, who is a pastor at the same church his father was.

King III said he finds hope in the days ahead.

“Although we are very divided, I am very hopeful,” King III said. “It does not mean it is going to be easy. It does not mean it’s going to be quick.”

Monday marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day and people honored the civil rights leader by participating in a day of service across the country.

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, while supporting striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. Had he lived, he would have turned 92 on his birthday last Friday.

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