EAST POINT, Ga. — More than 50 years after her husband’s death, Naomi King continues to teach younger generations not only about the issues of the day and the civil rights movement, but about the man who was also on the front lines of the movement.
Her late husband, Reverend A.D. King.
“A lot of people did not know and do not know that ML [Martin Luther King Jr.] had a brother,” King said to students at tri-cities high school in East Point.
She stopped by Tri-Cities High School to speak to the US History and American Literature students recently.
“We met when we were like 12, 13 years old. So, I just can’t think of a day without him. I just cannot,” King said.
Her and Rev. King married in 1950. She later attended the University of Alabama. King had a front row seat to her husband’s work.
“They [MLK and A.D.] were just always together. They just had great comradery. So, whatever ML wanted done that he could not do he would ask A.D. to do it and he would take it and do it in a heartbeat,” she explained.
After graduating from Morehouse College in 1959 Rev. King went into the ministry. He would eventually take over as pastor of First Baptist Church outside of Birmingham, Alabama. Years later, he moved to Kentucky to pastor another church. However, he remained dedicated to his activist work.
Rev. King's house in Birmingham was bombed in 1963 as a result of his activism. He was regarded as one of the main strategists of the Selma demonstration. It is widely held that his work there led to Civil Rights Act of 1964.
A little more than a year after his brother was killed, Rev. King’s life would also end tragically.
“I lost it. Because I said, drowned? A.D. was an excellent swimmer,” King said shaking her head.
He was found at the bottom of the family’s swimming pool.
“God simply said to me that A.D. did not drown he was killed. the fact to me is that he had rings around his neck and scars,” she explained.
While his death continues to be a mystery, King continues to keep his name alive. In 2008, she established the A.D. King Foundation.
“He was funny. He was smart. He was just the utmost,” King said smiling.
She continues to travel around the world promoting youth and women empowerment and entrepreneurship.
King has also written books and been a part of a documentary about her late husband.