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Christine King Farris, the late surviving sibling of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., passed away at the age of 95, as confirmed by a tweet from her niece, Bernice King.
In the heartfelt tweet, Bernice expressed her love and the sense of loss, saying, “I love you and will miss you, Aunt Christine.” Notably, Bernice King also tweeted that her Aunt’s passing occurred on the day before the 49th anniversary of her Grandmother’s assassination and attached a photograph of her late Aunt and Grandmother attending her Father’s memorial service.
Throughout her life, Farris dedicated herself to preserving and promoting her brother’s legacy, working closely with her sister-in-law, Coretta Scott King, after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Despite operating behind the scenes, Farris played an instrumental role in the civil rights movement.
The legacy of Christine King Farris
Born as Willie Christine King on September 11, 1927, in Atlanta, Farris was the eldest child of Reverend Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Christine Williams King. She actively contributed to the development of The King Center alongside Coretta Scott King, playing a crucial part in disseminating Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolent resistance.
The King Center expressed its deep sorrow over the passing of Farris, sharing a photograph that showcased her role as a founding board member, former vice-chair, and treasurer.
Bernice King also shared a poignant photo with Farris, expressing love and cherished memories. Martin Luther King III took to Twitter to convey that he, along with his wife and daughter, had the privilege of spending time with his aunt during her final days.
Martin Luther King III described Farris as a dedicated public servant, highlighting her tireless efforts to fight for equality and combat racism in America, drawing inspiration from the tragedies of her mother and brother’s assassinations. He remarked, “Aunt Christine used the tragedies of the assassinations of her mother and brother to fight for change in America.”
An educator, civil rights leader, author and much more
Farris overcame numerous adversities to become a renowned civil rights leader and acclaimed author. She outlived many of her loved ones, including her parents, siblings, sister-in-law, and niece, Yolanda. Farris graduated from Spelman College in 1948 with a degree in economics.
Returning to Spelman College a decade later, Farris dedicated over 50 years to working there. In 1960, she married Isaac Newton Farris, and they had two children, Angela Christine Farris Watkins and Isaac Newton Farris Jr.
Farris left behind a lasting literary legacy with her two children’s books, “My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up With the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” and “March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World.” In 2009, she penned a memoir titled “Through It All: Reflections on My Life, My Family and My Faith.”
Farris often shared personal anecdotes about her brother’s childhood, aiming to humanize him and make his accomplishments more relatable, emphasizing that his transformative impact was not an overnight occurrence but the result of a journey.