Alberta Williams King

On June 30th, 1973, Alberta Williams King was gunned down while she played the organ for the “Lord’s Prayer” at Ebenezer Baptist Church. As a Christian civil rights activist, she was assassinated…just like her son, Martin Luther King, Jr. But most people remember only one. Until a month ago, I was one of those people.

February 8, 2015

“28 Days Isn’t Enough…”

How many of you knew Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s mother, Alberta Williams King, a Christian civil rights activist was also assassinated?

If your heart skipped a beat and your spirit is drawn to know more, I welcome you into CARTER™ Magazine’s world… 28 days isn’t enough to cover a rich and vast history not often told in America, and so CARTER™ Magazine was created to provide 365 days of our story.

via The Guardian: On June 30, 1974, according to witnesses Mrs Alberta King, whose husband, the Rev Martin Luther King Snr, is pastor of the church on Auburn Avenue, was playing the organ for the Lord’s Prayer near the start of the service when the attack began. A young black man jumped and screamed: “You must stop this! I am tired of all this! I’m taking over this morning.”

With that he drew two pistols and for the next 90 seconds fired wildly and continuously, hitting Mrs King, another elderly woman parishioner, and a 69-year-old church deacon, Mr Edward Boykin.


While members of the congregation dived beneath the pews, a few men from the choir jumped on the gunman, who was shouting: “ I’m going to kill everyone in here - they did it to me in the war.”

Mrs King’s grandson Derek, who said he helped to subdue the gunman as he tried to reload a pistol, added: “He was delirious. He appeared to be in a fever. He said over and over, ‘The war did this to me. It’s the war.’”

Mrs King was taken to the nearby Grady Memorial Hospital, where officials said she was “barely alive” on arrival. She died shortly afterwards from a gunshot wound to the right of her head. Mr Boykin was pronounced dead on arrival.

The attack on Mrs King took place less than 100 yards from where her famous son, killed in 1968 at the age of 39, is buried.

5

“Alberta King was shot and killed on June 30, 1974 by 23 year-old Marcus Wayne Chenault as she sat at the organ of the Ebenezer Baptist Church during a Sunday service. He wounded three people, two of them —Mrs. King and Deacon Edward Boykin, 69—fatally. According to the New York Times, Chenault ‘told the police that his mission was to kill the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., but he shot Mrs. King instead because she was close to him’.

Interestingly, Alberta King’s life was taken only a few months before James Earl Ray’s evidentiary hearing to determine whether or not he would be granted a new trial.

The FBI maintained wiretaps on the King Family and the SCLC for some time after MLK Jr.’s assassination.  With mounting evidence of the government’s involvement in the killing, the guilty parties had plenty of reason to be fearful of one of MLK Jr.’s parents going public, or possibly speaking in Ray’s defense.  The last thing those bastards needed was a tag team consisting of MLK Jr.’s mourning widow and his grieving mother (or father) blanketing the airwaves and exposing the FBI’s murderous COINTELPRO shenanigans.”

http://dillsnapcogitation.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/the-1974-assassination-of-martin-luther-kings-mother/

Interesting read.

Alberta Williams King (left) was assassinated just 6 years after her son Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down in Memphis, Tennessee. On June 30th, 1974 Mrs. King was playing the organ in Ebenezer Baptist Church - the very church her son was baptized and later became co-pastor in - when Marcus Wayne Chenault killed her. The assassination of Mrs. King took place less than 100 yards from where her son is buried.

-Collier Meyerson,  MLK’s Mother Was Also Assassinated

My mother confronted the age-old problem of the Negro parent in America: how to explain discrimination and segregation to a small child.

She taught me that I should feel a sense of “somebodiness” but that on the other hand I had to go out and face a system that stared me in the face every day saying you are “less than,” you are “not equal to.” She told me about slavery and how it ended with the Civil War. She tried to explain the divided system of the South—the segregated schools, restaurants, theaters, housing; the white and colored signs on drinking fountains, waiting rooms, lavatories—as a social condition rather than a natural order. She made it clear that she opposed this system and that I must never allow it to make me feel inferior.

Then she said the words that almost every Negro hears before he can yet understand the injustice that makes them necessary: YOU ARE AS GOOD AS ANYONE.

At this time, Mother had no idea that the little boy in her arms would years later be involved in a struggle against the system she was speaking of.

MLK's Mother Was Assassinated, Too: The Forgotten Women Of Black History Month

ByAurin SquirePublishedFebruary 4, 2015,  6:00 AM EST 425476 views

On June 30th, 1974, Alberta Williams King was gunned down while she played the organ for the “Lord’s Prayer” at Ebenezer Baptist Church. As a Christian civil rights activist, she was assassinated…just like her son, Martin Luther King, Jr. But most people remember only one.  Until a month ago, I was one of those people.

When a friend told me about Alberta Williams King, my first reaction was “who?” This question was followed by a wave of shame. It was the same feeling I had a few years ago when I first heard about Fannie Lou Hamer. Then later came Ida B. Wells and other leaders who seemed to appear in the discussion of American history to my confused, uninformed silence. I started to suspect that I had half an education and that I had been leaving out the role of women and feminism in Black History.

I thought I was fairly well-versed in African-American history. My parents filled our shelves with the core curriculum: Up From Slavery, Letters from a Birmingham Jail, Native Son, Black Boy, Go Tell it On the Mountain, Soul on Ice, The Miseducation of the Negro, Before Columbus, and many more pieces of literature and non-fiction. I immersed myself in books, hagiography, essays, videos, encyclopedias. My extracurricular studies came from an authentic curiosity (instead of dutiful obligation) to know more about my family. Black females held the role of poetry and song: Phillis Wheatley, Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks, Nikki Giovanni, Sapphire. But as far as activism and leadership, the ranks were all-male.

“Well, we don’t study it that much because there’s no such thing.” As South Florida child attending privileged white schools, I heard this answer a lot in response to request for getting more out of February. Usually I was the only black face in the honors classes and would be the lone petitioner. By the time I was in middle school, the atmospheric ignorance didn’t invoke anger in me. Instead I became curious as to who else did not “have a history.”

The answer was anything not in Europe or the Mideast. When my teachers lectured about Mideast history, they had to mentally sever Egypt, Libya, and most of the region from the African continent just to keep the Eurocentric/Mediterranean conceit in tact. But none of this surprised me. Most of my white peers reached a consensus that African-Americans didn’t really have a history before slavery (or the arrival of Europeans) and not much to talk about after the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The only subcategory with an even smaller claim to historical significance were Black women. And while a fierce argument would rage in defense of the need for black history, most were willing to concede the importance of that history’s feminism.

Now this isn’t meant to be a diatribe against my teachers, family, or community. I’m grateful for their lessons on African-American men who made black history. But after hearing about Alberta Williams King last month having no idea of who she was, I began to wonder how many transformational stories I had been missing. With the exception of Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman, I had neglected one half of my story.  

Even now, as the nation’s attention focuses on the new generation of activists fighting against police brutality and hate crimes, it’s women who are often left out. The silence has subtle but lasting consequences. Historical omission points toward a culture’s subconscious beliefs that some people matter less than others. When female stories are muted, we are teaching our kids that their dignity is second class and the historical accounts of their lives are less relevant. This lowered value carries over when women face sexual objectification and systemic brutalization from inside and outside the community. When we can’t see ourselves in our history, we begin to think that we are disconnected and suffering alone. Historical ignorance always precedes cultural imbalances and individual despair. Too many lives are still lived in the blank space, too many march for racial equality while subjugating their gender and even sexual orientation.

The wave of inter- and intra-community violence against women and African American LGBT citizens is not an accident. It may seem like nit-picking to talk about the lack of non-heteronormative stories during Black History Month. But historical exclusivity often has a way of turning into present and institutionalized tragedy. Whose story gets told matters.

As an adult, I’m trying to make up for lost time. By getting to know Wells’ work in highlighting lynchings, Mrs. King’s behind-the-scenes leadership, Fannie Lou Hamer’s activism in Mississippi to get people registered to vote, and many other women whose stories must be told to our children when they are young so that they become a part of the accepted mainstream of black History.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/mlk-mother-was-assassinated-forgotten-women-black-history-month

A shooting in a sanctuary

“Atlanta, Ga. - June 30, 1974 - Scene outside of Ebenezer Baptist Church after the shooting of Mrs. Alberta King, mother of Martin Luther King Jr. (Bill Mahan/AJC staff)” Alberta Williams King, 70, who was seated at the church organ playing “The Lord’s Prayer,” was killed, as was Deacon Edward Boykin, 69, by a visitor to the church. A woman in the congregation was wounded. The killer was sentenced to life in prison and he died of a stroke in a Georgia prison cell in 1995.

Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

MLK’s Mother Was Assassinated, Too: The Forgotten Women Of Black History Month

On June 30th, 1974, Alberta Williams King was gunned down while she played the organ for the “Lord’s Prayer” at Ebenezer Baptist Church. As a Christian civil rights activist, she was assassinated…just like her son, Martin Luther King, Jr. But most people remember only one. Until a month ago, I was one of those people.

When a friend told me about Alberta Williams King, my first reaction was “who?” This question was followed by a wave of shame. It was the same feeling I had a few years ago when I first heard about Fannie Lou Hamer. Then later came Ida B. Wells and other leaders who seemed to appear in the discussion of American history to my confused, uninformed silence. I started to suspect that I had half an education and that I had been leaving out the role of women and feminism in Black History.

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On June 30th, 1974, Alberta Williams King was gunned down while she played the organ for the “Lord’s Prayer” at Ebenezer Baptist Church. As a Christian civil rights activist, she was assassinated…just like her son, Martin Luther King, Jr. But most people remember only one. Until a month ago, I was one of those people.

#BlackHistoryMonth- Alberta Williams King #PDMFNB #UniteBlue #LibCrib @bannerite

The mother of the late Rev Martin Luther King, the civil rights leader who was assassinated, was herself shot and killed as she played the organ for morning service in the Ebenezer Baptist Church in of Atlanta, Georgia.

Alberta Christine Williams was born on September 13, 1904, the only daughter of Jennie Celeste Parks and Reverend Adam McNeil Williams, who was then the pastor of the Ebenezer…

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On June 30th, 1974, Alberta Williams King was gunned down while she played the organ for the “Lord’s Prayer” at Ebenezer Baptist Church. As a Christian civil rights activist, she was assassinated…just like her son, Martin Luther King, Jr. But most people remember only one. Until a month ago, I was one of those people.

“On June 30th, 1974, Alberta Williams King was gunned down while she played the organ for the “Lord’s Prayer” at Ebenezer Baptist Church. As a Christian civil rights activist, she was assassinated…just like her son, Martin Luther King, Jr. But most people remember only one. Until a month ago, I was one of those people. 

Ugh, me too. It’s embarrassing how uninformed I am on so many issues and narratives that should be central to my understanding of feminism and US history in general, but aren’t. It sounds trite but I really didn’t even know anything about feminism until I started reading Jezebel in college, but I really really didn’t understand anything about intersectional feminism (aka…the only feminism that can truly be called feminism) until I stopped reading Jezebel. So it’s a long journey but one I’m committed to because I want to be a strong ally to all women and not just participate in the limited goals of White Feminism. Anyway late night rant but I felt like I needed to talk it out. 

Paper/Essay on Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr was a very inspiring and good natured person. Being an american baptist minster, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights movement. He is best know for his role in the advancement of Civil Rights, specifically using non-violent Civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs. With his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech he established his reputation as one of the in greatest orators in American history.

Born on January 15th, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, to Reverend Martin Luther King Sr and Alberta Williams King. King’s legal name at birth was Michael King, just as his father’s was, but his father changed both him and his son’s name after a trip to Germany in 1934. In Germany he attended the Fifth Baptist World Alliance Congress in Berlin. Both of the Martin’s were re-named in honor of the German reformer Martin Luther. Martin Luther was a middle child, with elder sister Willie Christine King and younger brother Alfred Daniel Williams King. 

King enjoyed singing and music and with his mother being an accomplished organist and choir leader, he was taken to various churches to sing. Later even becoming a member of the choir in his church.

While king was growing up his father regularly whipped him until he was fifteen, reportedly being heard telling the boy at one point that ‘he would make something of him even if he had to beat him to death’. He also saw his father’s proud and unafraid protests in relation to segregation. At one point in his life, he befriended a white boy whose father owned a business near his family’s home. When the boys were six King lost his friend because the child’s father no longer wanted them to play together. Due to this racial humiliation  that he and his family received in the segregated South, King suffered through depression for much of his life. At the age of twelve he even jumped from a second story window, blaming himself for his maternal grandmother’s death-but survived. 

While attending Booker T. Washington High School he became known for his public speaking ability and was part of the debate team. In 1942, at age 13, King became the youngest assistant manager of a newspaper delivery station for the Atlanta Journal. During his junior year he won first prize in an oratorical contest sponsored by the Negro Elks Club in Dublin Georgia. On his way home, on the bus, the driver told him and his teacher to stand so that the white passengers could sit down. He later characterized this incident as ‘The angriest I have ever been in my life.”. 

 Due to a lot of youth going off to fight and take a part in Word War Two, during King’s junior year, the schools became desperate to fill classrooms and announced that they would accept any students who passed the entrance exams. At age fifteen, King passed the exam and entered Morehouse College. Then, the summer before his last year at Morehouse, in 1947, at eighteen he made the choice to enter the ministry.

In 1948, King graduated from Morehouse with a B.A, degree in Sociology, and enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania-from which he graduated with a B.Div degree in 1951. His father fully supported his decision to continue his education. At Crozer, King was elected president of the student body. The African-American students of Crozer for the most part conducted their social activity on Edwards Street, King frequently went there as well-due to a classmate having an aunt that prepared the two collard greens, which they both enjoyed.

In his third year he became romantically involved with the daughter of an immigrant German woman working as a cook in the cafeteria. King even had plans of marrying her, but friends urged him not to due the reaction an interracial relationship would cause among the blacks and the whites-as well as destroying his chances of ever pastoring a church in the south. About six months later he broke it off, never really getting over it.

King married Coretta Scott on June 18th, 1953, in her hometown of Heiberger, Alabama. They became the parents of four children: Yolanda King (b. 1955), Martin Luther King III (b. 1957), Dexter Scott King (b. 1961), and Bernice King (b. 1963).  During their marriage, King limited Coretta’s role in the Civil Rights Movement, expecting her to be a housewife and mother. 

 In 1954 King became a pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama-his main influence being Jesus Christ and the Christian Gospels, which he would almost always quote.  King then began doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University and received his Ph.D. degree on June 5, 1955.

King initially believed in and practiced self-defense, even obtaining guns in his household as a means of defense against possible attackers. A mixed group of pacifists guided King by showing him the alternative of nonviolent resistance, arguing that this would be a better means to accomplish his goals of civil rights than self-defense. King then vowed to no longer personally use arms.  Another influence for King’s nonviolent method was Henry David Thoreau’s essay On Civil Disobedience, which King read in his student days. He was influenced by the idea of refusing to cooperate with an evil system.  He also was greatly influenced by the works of Protestant theologians Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich, as well as Walter Rauschenbusch’s Christianity and the Social Crisis. King also sometimes used the concept of “agape” (brotherly Christian love).  However, after 1960, he ceased employing it in his writings.

Even after renouncing his personal use of guns, King had a complex relationship with the phenomenon of self-defense in the movement. He publically discouraged it as a widespread practice, but acknowledged that it was sometimes necessary. Throughout his career King was frequently protected by other civil rights activists who carried arms, such as Colonel Stone JohnsonRobert Hayling, and the Deacons for Defense and Justice.

In 1965,  in an interview conducted for Playboy,  he said that granting black Americans only equality could not realistically close the economic gap between them and whites. King said that he did not seek a full restitution of wages lost to slavery, which he believed impossible, but proposed a government compensatory program of $50 billion over ten years to all disadvantaged groups.  He posited that “the money spent would be more than amply justified by the benefits that would accrue to the nation through a spectacular decline in school dropouts, family breakups, crime rates, illegitimacy, swollen relief rolls, rioting and other social evils”. He presented this idea as an application of the common law regarding settlement of unpaid labor, but clarified that he felt that the money should not be spent exclusively on blacks. He stated, “It should benefit the disadvantaged of all races”.

In December 1955, during the Mongomery bus boycott, King was arrested, which concluded with a United States District Court ruling in Browder v. Gayle that ended racial segregation on all Montgomery public buses. The boycott lasted for 385 days, and the situation became so tense that King’s house was bombed.  King’s role in the bus boycott transformed him into a national figure and the best-known spokesman of the civil rights movement.

In 1957, King, Ralph Abernathy, Fred Shuttlesworth, Joseph Lowery, and other civil rights activists founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The group was created to harness the moral authority and organizing power of black churches to conduct nonviolent protests in the service of civil rights reform. One of the group’s inspirations was the crusades of evangelist Billy Graham, who befriended King after he attended a Graham crusade in New York City in 1957. King led the SCLC until his death. The SCLC’s 1957 Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom was the first time King addressed a national audience.

King organized and led marches for blacks’ right to vote, desegregation, labor rights and other basic civil rights.[78] Most of these rights were successfully enacted into the law of the United States with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. King continued fighting for equality through peaceful means up until his assassination in  April 4, 1968, when he was shot and rushed to the hospital. He died  at St. Joseph’s Hospital at 7:05 p.m. He was only 39 years old.