Martin Luther King III announces his resignation as president of the King Center

By Maria Saporta

Martin Luther King III is resigning as president of the King Center, effective immediately.

In a statement that will be released to the general public later today, King III said he will be devoting his future efforts “towards launching a new organization that will focus on supporting a new generation of young drum majors for justice worldwide.” He plans to announce further details in the coming weeks.

King III’s resignation follows a release issued by the King Center on Jan. 9 announcing that Bernice King would be taking over as CEO — replacing her oldest brother in that role. King III had been serving as president and CEO of the King Center since the spring of 2010. According to the release, King III was to continue to hold the title of president, and his younger brother, Dexter King, would continue as its chairman.

In his statement announcing his resignation, King III said he “will remain active as a member of the board of trustees.” The board is comprised primarily of family members.

The timing of the resignation follows the annual festivities that surround the birthday celebration of the late Martin Luther King Jr., who would have been 83 on Jan. 15.

King III had a leading role at the King Center’s top fundraiser — the Salute to Greatness dinner — on Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

In his talk at the “Salute to Greatness,” King III talked about his dedication to continuing the work of his father and his mother, Coretta Scott King, to fight poverty, militarism and racism. Mrs. King founded the institution after her husband’s assassination to create a living memorial so his work of nonviolent social change would continue.

At the dinner, King III gave an inkling about his future role with the King Center when he said: “the work is not confined to those four walls or that institution.”

King III reiterated his beliefs in his parent’s work in the announcement of his resignation.

“The most vulnerable members of societies around the world are being pushed to the margins of humanity by a rapidly deteriorating global economy, brazen assaults against human rights, escalating racism and bigotry, bloated military spending and adventurist wars,” King III wrote.

The statement from King III continued:

“For me, the state of the world and its radically shifting winds in the wrong moral direction, summons the words of my father: ‘Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.’

”I am responding to my father’s words by renewing and expanding my commitment to the struggle for social justice and human rights.”

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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