Martin Luther King Jr.'s Daughter Calls on People to 'Remember and Honor my Mother, as Well'

·3-min read
Dr. Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta Scott King pose for a portrrait in 1964
Dr. Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta Scott King pose for a portrrait in 1964

Library of Congress Dr. Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta Scott King pose for a portrait in 1964

As the nation comes together to commemorate the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr., his daughter is imploring people to also recognize her mother, Coretta Scott King, for the valuable contributions she made to ensure that her husband's legacy would live on.

"As you honor my father today, please remember and honor my mother, as well," Dr. Bernice King, the late couple's youngest daughter, wrote on Twitter Monday.

"She was the architect of the King Legacy and founder of @TheKingCenter, which she founded two months after Daddy was assassinated," Bernice continued. "Without #CorettaScottKing, there would be no #MLKDay."

Coretta Scott King, who died at the age of 78 in 2006, dedicated her life to advocating for social change — and was a leading participant in the American Civil Rights Movement.

"Her remarkable partnership with Dr. King resulted not only in four children, who became dedicated to carrying forward their parent's work, but also in a life devoted to the highest values of human dignity in service to social change," reads a biography for the late advocate on The King Center's website.

"Mrs. King traveled throughout the world speaking out on behalf of racial and economic justice, women's and children's rights, gay and lesbian dignity, religious freedom, the needs of the poor and homeless, full-employment, health care, educational opportunities, nuclear disarmament and environmental justice," the biography continued.

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In the weeks before the annual holiday, the King family has spoken out in support of key voting rights legislation, which is currently being held up by a filibuster — even drawing the ire of President Joe Biden, who has called on Congress to change its rules to ensure the passage of the important bills.

Voting rights legislation has so far been blocked due to objections by Republicans, who say the reforms amount to federal intrusion.

Last week, Bernice posted one of her father's less-quoted remarks on social media, in which the late activist criticized the procedural rule, which increases the threshold of votes needed to pass a measure from a simple majority to 60 votes.

"I think the tragedy is that we have a Congress with a Senate that has a minority of misguided senators who will use the filibuster to keep the majority of people from even voting," read the quote.

In the tweet, she also directly called out vocal filibuster supporters Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, both of whom argue the filibuster protects the minority party and encourages compromise.

Asked how people should best honor MLK's legacy this year, his 13-year-old granddaughter has encouraged others to take action.

"MLK Day is not a day off," Yolanda Renee King told NBC News. "It should be treated as a day on. It's a day of service."

"I think that instead of idolizing my grandfather, pick a service project and do something to help the community," the teenage activist continued. "It could be something as simple as picking up trash around your neighborhood park."

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Yolanda Renee King
Yolanda Renee King

Ken Cedeno/UPI/Shutterstock Yolanda Renee King

When it comes to her family, Yolanda says they are united in advocating for the passage of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

"My family and I have been working on getting two major bills passed that can make it easier for people to vote, because one of the fundamental rights is the right to vote," she shared. "Everybody needs to have access to voting."