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Christine King Farris

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Information about Christine King Farris

Profile image of Christine King Farris

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Education Professor

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Birthplace

Born:
9/11/1927
Birth Location:
Atlanta, Georgia

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Education Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/11/1927
Birth Location:
Atlanta
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Biography

Civil rights activist and education professor Christine King Farris was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on September 11, 1927, to Alberta Christine Williams King and Martin Luther King, Sr. She was the eldest of three children: her younger siblings were Martin Luther King, Jr., and Alfred Daniel (A.D.) Williams King. Farris and her family belonged to Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her father preached. Farris attended Yonge Street Elementary School, famous for its organization of the first black Parent-Teacher Association, before transferring to Oglethorpe Elementary. From 1940 to 1942, she attended Atlanta University’s Laboratory High School, and when it closed, she enrolled at Booker T. Washington High School, which her grandfather helped to found. In 1944, Farris graduated from Washington High School and entered Spelman College, where her grandmother, mother and great-aunt had all matriculated.

In 1948, Farris graduated from Spelman College with her B.A. degree in economics. One year later, she graduated from Columbia University with her M.A. degree in the social foundations of education. Over the next few summers, she earned a second M.A. degree from Columbia University in special education. In 1950, Farris took her first job as a teacher at W.H. Crogman Elementary, where she taught a seventh grade reading class. In 1958, Farris was hired as director of the freshman reading program at Spelman College, and eventually became director of the Learning Resources Center, a position she still holds. She is Spelman's longest-serving faculty member. In 1965, when her brother, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., led the campaign to vote in Selma, Alabama, Farris sang at the opening rally on the day they departed for Montgomery. After his death, his wife, Coretta Scott King, founded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia. Farris served as the treasurer and taught workshops on nonviolence. Farris also went on to found the Martin Luther King, Jr. Child Development Center.

The recipient of the Fannie Lou Hamer Award, Farris helped establish the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Site in 1980, at the suggestion of President Jimmy Carter. She is the author of the acclaimed children's book, My Brother Martin, and of an autobiography, Through It All: Reflections on My Life, My Family, and My Faith. Currently, Farris resides in Atlanta with her husband, Isaac Newton Farris. They have two children, Isaac Newton Farris, Jr., and Angela Christine Farris, and one granddaughter, Farris Christine Watkins.

Christine King Farris was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 11, 2010.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Christine King Farris' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Christine King Farris discusses her childhood home, her parents Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King, and her maternal grandparents, part 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Christine King Farris discusses her childhood home, her parents Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King, and her maternal grandparents, part 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Christine King Farris discusses the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood at 501 Auburn Avenue
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Christine King Farris describes her neighborhood and how she spent her leisure time as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Christine King Farris discusses her relationship with her brothers Martin Luther King, Jr. and Alfred King
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Christine King Farris talks about family traditions and her earliest memories growing up
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Christine King Farris talks about being a part of Ebenezer Baptist Church
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Christine King Farris talks about her home environment growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Christine King Farris discusses family dinners and her father, Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr., as an activist
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Christine King Farris discusses her father's activist influence
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Christine King Farris discusses the death of her maternal grandmother, Jennie Celeste Williams, and the impact on her family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Christine King Farris discusses choosing a college and her family's legacy at Morehouse College and Spelman College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Christine King Farris discusses her family's homes at 501 Auburn Avenue, 193 Boulevard and Dale Creek Drive in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Christine King Farris describes her childhood neighborhood and its businesses
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Christine King Farris talks about her brothers' and father's names, traditions at Ebenezer Baptist Church and the Baptist denomination
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Christine King Farris talks about her brother's decision to join the ministry
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Christine King Farris talks about her brother's development as a young minister and his influences
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Christine King Farris talks about attending graduate school at Columbia University and her brother's theological education at Crozer Theological Seminary
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Christine King Farris talks about her family's relationship with Dr. Benjamin Mays and conflicts within the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Christine King Farris discusses her brother's beginnings as a civil rights activist, the SCLC and SNCC
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Christine King Farris talks about her family's role in supporting Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Christine King Farris talks about the Baptist World Alliance, her brother Alfred's role in the Civil Rights Movement and danger in Alabama
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Christine King Farris discusses her father and brother's name change and provides anecdotes about Ebenezer Baptist Church
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Christine King Farris talks about homecoming at Ebenezer Baptist Church
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Christine King Farris explains and describes baptism and tithing
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Christine King Farris describes the church during her childhood, church traditions and her Uncle Joel King
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Christine King Farris talks about the Sunday morning murder of her mother, Alberta Williams King by Marcus Chenault
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Christine King Farris talks about childhood pets and her brother's grief over the death of their maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Christine King Farris discusses her brother, Martin, Jr.'s burial and his accomplishments
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Christine King Farris's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Christine King Farris remembers the opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Christine King Farris remembers the opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Christine King Farris describes the idea for a living memorial for Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Christine King Farris remembers the 1969 celebration of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Christine King Farris talks about preserving Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birth home
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Christine King Farris recalls balancing teaching with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Christine King Farris talks about recognition of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s work
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Christine King Farris describes Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life's work
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Christine King Farris remembers the assassination of her brother, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Christine King Farris recalls the aftermath of her brother's assassination
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Christine King Farris talks about her friendship with Coretta Scott King
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Christine King Farris talks about the early locations of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Christine King Farris remembers fundraising for the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Christine King Farris describes her efforts to teach nonviolence
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Christine King Farris talks about the role of faith through her family's struggles
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Christine King Farris recalls parenting with Coretta Scott King
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Christine King Farris recalls her decision to become an educator
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Christine King Farris remembers the birth of her granddaughter, Farris Christine Watkins
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Christine King Farris talks about her granddaughter's interest in education
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Christine King Farris remembers meeting her husband, Isaac Newton Farris, Sr.
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Christine King Farris describes campus life at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Christine King Farris remembers Spelman College President Florence M. Read
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Christine King Farris recalls singing with the Spelman College glee club
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Christine King Farris describes the campus rules at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Christine King Farris remembers slipping off of Spelman College's campus as a student
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Christine King Farris talks about her classmates at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Christine King Farris recalls returning to Spellman College as a professor
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Christine King Farris talks about the relationship between Spelman College and Morehouse College
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Christine King Farris remembers her classmates at Spelman College and Morehouse College
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Christine King Farris describes campus life at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Christine King Farris talks about her marriage to Isaac Newton Farris, Sr.
  • Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Christine King Farris remembers her wedding
  • Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Christine King Farris remembers her mother's support following her brother's assassination
  • Tape: 10 Story: 10 - Christine King Farris remembers her relationship with Coretta Scott King
  • Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Christine King Farris reflects upon the many losses in her family
  • Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Christine King Farris reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Christine King Farris remembers the death of Coretta Scott King
  • Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Christine King Farris talks about the exposure that comes from her brother's prominence
  • Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Christine King Farris talks about the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Christine King Farris describes various collections of her brother's papers
  • Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Christine King Farris describes her hopes for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change
  • Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Christine King Farris talks about race in the United States
  • Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Christine King Farris reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Christine King Farris talks about her children