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Naomi King

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Information about Naomi King

Profile image of Naomi King

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Greens (Collard)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
This Is The Day That The Lord Has Made. We Will Rejoice And Be Glad In It.

Birthplace

Born:
11/17/1931
Birth Location:
Dothan, Alabama

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Greens (Collard)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
This Is The Day That The Lord Has Made. We Will Rejoice And Be Glad In It.

Birthplace

Born:
11/17/1931
Birth Location:
Dothan
See how Naomi King is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Civil rights activist Naomi King was born in Dothan, Alabama, on November 17, 1931 to a single mother, Bessie Barber Bailey. Her mother, a cook in a prominent Atlanta home, taught her social graces. King, educated in Atlanta Public Schools, excelled in French and English. As a young woman, King was often selected by local clothing stores as a preferred fashion model, at times featured in shop windows. King and her mother belonged to the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King, Sr. served as senior pastor. At the church, King became acquainted with the pastor’s children, and she caught the eye of his youngest son, A.D.

In 1949, King entered Spelman College, where she spent a year studying French before marrying A.D. Williams King, Baptist minister, civil rights activist, and youngest son of Martin Luther King, Sr., in 1950. She later attended the University of Alabama and studied interior design. She would have five children: Alfred D.W. King III; Alveda King; Esther Darlene King; Reverend Vernon King of Charlotte, North Carolina; and Reverend Derek B. King of Indianapolis, Indiana. King lived most of her life as a mother and First Lady. She brought musical concerts, women’s enrichment programs, and tools for living to her husband’s congregations. Together, she and her husband supported Martin Luther King, Jr., when, in 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama; at the creation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957; when students in Greensboro, North Carolina, launch the sit-in movement in 1960; through the Birmingham campaign of 1963; during 1963’s “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom”; and throughout 1965’s campaign to vote in Selma. Toward the end of the campaign in Birmingham, on May 11, 1963, a bomb destroyed the Gaston Motel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was staying, and another damaged the home of Naomi and A.D. King.

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. This tragedy was soon followed by the death of King’s husband, A.D., in 1969; on July 21, King and her children were vacationing in Nassau when A.D. drowned in their home swimming pool. On July 30, 1974, King’s mother-in-law, Alberta Christine Williams King, was murdered by deranged gunman Marcus Chenault as she played the Lord’s Prayer at Ebenezer Church. In 1976, King’s younger daughter, Darlene died while jogging from an apparent heart attack, and ten years later, her son Al died in the same manner. In 1984, King’s father-in-law, Martin Luther King, Sr., passed away from a heart attack, and in 2006, she lost her sister-in-law, Coretta Scott King, to advanced stage ovarian cancer. Despite these losses, King has kept her husband’s memory alive through her establishment of the A.D. King Foundation in 2008. She received the SCLC Rosa Parks Freedom Award in January 2008.

Naomi King was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 14, 2010.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Naomi King's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Naomi King lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Naomi King describes her mother's family background and personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Naomi King remembers the Mechanicsville neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Naomi King recalls her experiences at Walker Street Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Naomi King describes her experiences during the Great Depression
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Naomi King recalls her childhood activities
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Naomi King describes her early education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Naomi King talks about the segregated movie theaters in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Naomi King talks about her experiences of segregation in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Naomi King remembers her friends at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Naomi King describes her involvement at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Naomi King describes her experiences at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Naomi King remembers the segregated retail stores in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Naomi King describes her experiences at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Naomi King remembers her courtship and marriage to Alfred Daniel Williams King
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Naomi King talks about her husband, Alfred Daniel Williams King
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Naomi King talks about the early years of her marriage
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Naomi King remembers the assassination of Alberta Williams King, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Naomi King remembers the assassination of Alberta Williams King, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Naomi King talks about her children
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Naomi King describes her husband's pastoral career
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Naomi King describes her husband's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Naomi King recalls the bombing of her home in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Naomi King recalls the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Naomi King describes her relationship with Coretta Scott King and Christine King Farris
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Naomi King remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Naomi King describes her husband's career at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Naomi King talks about the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Naomi King talks about the FBI's surveillance of her family
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Naomi King recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s commitment to nonviolence
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Naomi King remembers the death of her husband, Alfred Daniel Williams King
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Naomi King describes the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Naomi King remembers the death of Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Naomi King describes her work with Coretta Scott King
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Naomi King remembers the death of Coretta Scott King
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Naomi King reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Naomi King describes her concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Naomi King shares a message to future generations
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Naomi King reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Naomi King reflects upon her husbands' legacy, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Naomi King reflects upon her husband's legacy, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Naomi King narrates her photographs