Dexter Scott King, a devoted advocate for the civil-rights legacy of his parents, the iconic Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, passed away at the age of 62 after bravely battling prostate cancer. Known for his commitment to the cause, Dexter King left an indelible mark on the movement.

A Life Dedicated to the Dream

Born the third of four children, Dexter King was named after the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, where his father served as a pastor during the influential Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. Tragically, at the tender age of seven, Dexter lost his father when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated while supporting striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee.

Transforming Pain into Activism

Despite the profound impact of his father's tragic death, Dexter King used his grief as fuel for activism. Inspired by his parents' dream for a more just society, he dedicated his life to continuing their work and advocating for the rights of others. The Reverend Al Sharpton highlighted Dexter King's commitment, stating, "He turned that pain into activism...He left us far too soon."

In his memoir "Growing Up King," published in 2004, Dexter reflected on how his father's assassination shaped his childhood and influenced the trajectory of his life. He wrote candidly about the challenges of navigating formality, seriousness, and certitude while experiencing the highs and lows that life brings.

Carrying the Torch

Dexter King's striking resemblance to his renowned father was not only remarkable but also led to him being cast as Martin Luther King Jr. in a 2002 television production about Rosa Parks, featuring Angela Bassett. This portrayal served as a testament to Dexer King's deep connection with his father's legacy and his ongoing commitment to preserving and advancing the civil-rights movement.

Dexter Scott King will forever be remembered as a passionate advocate, a defender of justice, and a torchbearer for his parents' dream. His contributions to society will continue to inspire future generations in the pursuit of equality and freedom.

Dexter King: A Legacy Upheld

Dexter King, an attorney skilled in protecting the King family's intellectual property, played a crucial role as chairman of the King Center and president of the King estate. Together with his siblings, he embarked on a journey to preserve their parents' enduring legacy.

However, their collective determination to honor their parents' memory was occasionally met with disagreement. In a particularly bitter dispute, Dexter King and his brother attempted to sell their father's Nobel Peace Prize, bestowed upon him in 1964, and the traveling Bible used by President Barack Obama during his second inauguration. This contentious proposition was regarded as unthinkable by their sister, Bernice King.

In 2016, with the assistance of former President Jimmy Carter as a mediator, the King siblings managed to resolve the dispute. While the items were handed over to Dexter and his brother, the details of the settlement remain confidential.

Tragedy had previously struck the family, with the passing of Coretta Scott King in 2006 and their oldest sibling, Yolanda King, in 2007. Reverend Bernice A. King, the youngest of the four, aptly expressed her heartbreak, stating that words could not adequately capture her sorrow at losing yet another sibling.

Martin Luther King III, Dexter's older brother, standing amidst the sudden shock and devastation, acknowledged the difficulty of finding the right words in such trying times. He humbly requested prayers for the entire King family.

While the memorial service is yet to be announced, the King Center will be organizing a news conference in Atlanta on Tuesday. Amidst these circumstances, Dexter King's unwavering commitment to upholding his family's legacy shines through.

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