Martin Luther King III reflected upon his family’s steadfast dedication to activism, as he spoke to the University of Chicago community during its MLK Commemoration Celebration.
Mr. King said he was honored to deliver the keynote address on Jan. 30 at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, from the same pulpit where his father first spoke in 1956. He emphasized the importance of persistence, even in the face of tragedy, reflecting upon the recent passing of his brother Dexter and the anniversary of the death of his mother, Coretta Scott King.
“Both my mother and brother would want me to carry on and take every opportunity to share my father’s message of nonviolent social change, justice and peace to as many forums as possible as long as I can,” said Martin Luther King III, who recalled how his mother led a rally in Memphis in 1968, just days after her husband’s assassination.
Drawing upon his family’s unrelenting civic commitment in the face of racism, inequality and injustice, Mr. King encouraged the audience to take action.
“As we commemorate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., I call on young women and men everywhere to embrace a new definition of manhood and womanhood, a definition that emphasizes civic responsibility,” said Mr. King.
In his remarks, he examined some of the most pressing injustices of our time—from unequal health care access to gender discrimination to gun violence.
Recalling the killings of his father and grandmother, Martin Luther King III insisted on accountability and reform in confronting gun violence, even while many grow numb to frequent reports of mass shootings in the United States.
“We must resist the indifference to gun violence in our society, and urgently need more accountability for the ongoing slaughter of innocent people by guns,” Mr. King said.