Lesher Speaker Series


Martin Luther King III

April 19, 2016

Martin Luther King III
Civil Rights Activist
Global Humanitarian
Political Leader


As the oldest son of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King III has seized the torch lit by his parents and is continuing their quest for equality and justice for all people.

He has been motivating audiences around the world with his insightful message of hope and responsibility for nearly twenty years. Whether speaking to an audience in Mozambique or Mississippi, Israel or Indiana, his vision of the future has touched thousands.

Mr. King's dedication to creating and implementing strategic nonviolent action to rid the world of social, political, and economic injustice has propelled him to the forefront as one of the nation's most ardent advocates for the poor, the oppressed, and the disillusioned.

A human rights advocate, community activist and a political leader, Mr. King has been actively involved in significant policy initiatives to maintain the fair and equitable treatment of all citizens, at home and abroad. Utilizing the principles of Kingian nonviolence, Mr. King quietly exercised negotiation and persuasion to reach a compromise between Georgia legislators and leaders to change the state flag that was an offensive and divisive symbol for many Georgians. 

His commitment to world-wide humanitarian concerns was exemplified in the late 1970’s when he was asked to represent President Jimmy Carter in two official delegations to promote peace in foreign countries. Later, in 1984, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Mr. King ventured to five poverty and drought-stricken African nations on a fact-finding tour. The outcome of the tour was the creation of the Africa Initiative, a program developed to end starvation in Africa. In the 1980’s, he turned his attention and his action to the injustices of South Africa and was arrested at the South African embassy in Washington, D.C. as part of a civil disobedience protest against apartheid, and for the release of freedom fighter Nelson Mandela. In the 1990’s, he addressed the moral and political dilemmas of third-world nations such as Haiti and Nigeria. In 1996, he toured Great Britain, where he celebrated Black History Month and shared his father’s vision of justice and equality for all people.

A graduate of his father’s Alma mater, Morehouse College (he received a B.A. in political science), Mr. King was elected to political office in 1986 as an at-large representative of over 700,000 residents of Fulton County, Georgia.  As a member of the Board of Commissioners, he was instrumental in securing strong ethics legislation, purification of the county’s natural water resources, legislation regulating minority business participation in public contracting, and stringent hazardous waste disposal requirements. 

Committed to the personal, educational and skill development of youth, he initiated the "King Summer Intern Program" to provide employment opportunities for high school students; "Hoops for Health," a charity basketball game intended to increase public awareness of newborn babies who suffer the effects of substance abuse; and "A Call to Manhood," an annual event designed to unite young African-American males with positive adult role models. In addition to addressing many youth groups and volunteering for several youth and young adult-oriented projects, one of Mr. King’s, writing projects is directed to young people. Since leaving public office, Mr. King has initiated "America United for Affirmative Action," a national coalition of organizations to prevent the dismantling of affirmative action initiatives across the nation. He continues to volunteer for numerous civic organizations, and to devote his time to causes which address the betterment of all humankind. One of Mr. King’s ongoing collaborations is with the annual Kindness and Justice Challenge sponsored by Do Something, Inc.

From 1997 to 2004, Mr. King served as the fourth President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the organization that his father co-founded in 1957. A long-standing member of the Board of Directors, Mr. King has devoted much of his adulthood to the continuance of his father's mission of nonviolent conflict resolution.

SCLC convened police brutality and racial profiling hearings in several states that led to the passage of anti-racial profiling resolutions.  The Stop the Killing-End the Violence campaign was the anchor for the successful Gun Buy-Back program that collected over 10,000 weapons across the United States.

In 2006 Mr. King founded the nonprofit organization Realizing the Dream, Inc., which eventually merged with The King Center in 2010. King shared his father’s message to a receptive global audience, spearheading nonviolence education workshops and programs in Bosnia Herzegovina, India, Israel & Palestine, Kenya, Sri Lanka and the United States. Through a mix of nonviolence conferences and youth development programming, Mr. King, Realizing the Dream, and other members of the GEN II Global Peace Initiative have spread Dr. King’s message to a new generation

On Sep. 19, 2008, Mr. King received one of India's most prestigious honors, the Ramakrishna Bajaj Memorial Global Award for outstanding contributions to the promotion of human rights at the 26th Anniversary Global Awards of the Priyadarshni Academy in Mumbai, India.

In conjunction with Ambassador Andrew Young and other partners, Mr. King co-founded Bounce TV, the first-ever independently owned and operated TV network featuring African-Americans. Bounce TV targets audiences 25 years of age and older, and the network’s content included a mix of movies, sports, documentaries and original programming that will broadcast to viewers who don’t have cable television in major cities across America.

Martin Luther King, III was born in Montgomery, Alabama, the second oldest of the four children of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King. Martin was nurtured among individuals deeply committed to the struggle for human rights and a nonviolent society. He has assimilated and utilized those values in his personal and public life. 



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