Martin Luther King III speaks Jan. 27 - Catholic Courier

Martin Luther King III speaks Jan. 27

Martin Luther King III, son of the famed civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., will speak in Strong Auditorium on the University of Rochester’s River Campus on Friday, Jan. 27, at 6 p.m.

A human-rights advocate and community activist in his own right, Martin Luther King III will discuss continuing his father’s work in “My Father’s Dream, My Mission.” His talk is free and open to the public.

According to the university, King has traveled throughout the United States as well as to nations in Africa, Europe and Asia to support initiatives for equality, justice and nonviolent conflict resolution. The second oldest of Martin Luther King Jr.’s four children, King currently serves as chief executive officer and president of The King Center in Atlanta. The center was founded in 1968 to preserve the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s legacy and offers nonviolence programs as well as promotes community-service initiatives.

In 1986, Martin Luther King III was elected to the Board of Commissioners of Fulton County, Ga., and worked on legislation regulating minority-business participation in public contracting as well as on environmental issues involving water and waste disposal. In 1998, King started a five-year term as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization that his father cofounded in 1957. During his tenure, the organization conducted hearings on police brutality in 11 U.S. cities and launched an anti-violence campaign that included a gun buy-back program.

Among youth programs that King has initiated are the King Summer Intern Program, which provides employment opportunities for high-school students; Hoops for Health, a charity basketball game to raise awareness of newborns suffering the effects of their mothers’ substance abuse; and Call to Manhood, an event that connects young African-American males with positive adult role models.

King’s speech will conclude a two-week series of events at the university celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. Father Brian Cool, the university’s Catholic chaplain, noted that a multifaith service, slated to be held on Jan. 19, was designed to celebrate the legacy of King and “our common connectedness.”

“I think that there are many individuals that speak to us of Christ’s call to love our brothers and sisters,” Father Cool said. “Martin Luther King certainly demonstrated that ability to preach Christ’s message of unity in our country.”

For information on King’s speech, contact the Office of Minority Student Affairs at 585/275-0651.

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