WIUM Tristates Public Radio

King, Sr Talks About His Son

Jan 20, 2013

In observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Tri States Public Radio takes you back to a speech given by the father of the slain civil rights leader.

Martin Luther King, Sr
Credit University of Georgia

In 1975, Martin Luther King, Sr. visited the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to talk about the role of religion in the civil rights movement, and his son’s tireless work.

I'm determined that I'm not going to let hate take me over and destroy me

King said he bears no ill will for his son's killer.

“I am determined that I’m not going to let nothing get me down. I’m determined that I’m not going to let hate take me over and destroy me,” King said.

King, Sr said he never accepted segregation or the idea that anyone was better than him simply because of his skin color. King, Sr said in the speech that he fought the system and his son went along with that idea.

King, Sr said that as a child, King, Jr told his mother that he would fight segregation until the bitter end.

“He did so much about it in such a short while. He made true his statement,” King, Sr, who called his son a “genius.” He pointed out King, Jr said racists did not need punishment but rather they needed help.

King, Sr was born in Georgia in 1899. He was a pastor and engaged in civil rights actions during the 1930s.

He died in 1984.

Thanks to Sean Powers of Illinois Public Radio