Unsung Hero A. D. King brother of MLK


I wonder how many of you knew that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., had a brother. His brother's name was Alfred D. King. He as his older brother became a Baptist pastor. He was the brother in the background. He did not engage with the media much, but he allowed his brother and other colleagues that task, however, he was in the Civil Rights Movement right by his brother's side. To me, it is sad that he did not get the credit he deserves from the media or SCLC publications for his continued work for Civil Rights even after the death of his brother.

After success in championing Blacks' civil rights and voting rights, the King brothers began the fight for open or fair housing in 1966. It took two more years, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and riots across the country before the Fair Housing Act of 1968 became law. It was Alfred King and other colleagues, the continued that work after his brother's death and got that Open and Fair Housing Bill signed.



A. D. King was arrested with King, Jr., and 70 others while participating in an October 1960 lunch counter sit-in in Atlanta. In 1963, A. D. King became a leader of the Birmingham Campaign while pastoring at First Street Baptist Church in nearby Ensley, Alabama. On 11 May 1963 A. D. King’s house was bombed. In August, after a bomb exploded at the home of a prominent black lawyer in downtown Birmingham, thousands of outraged citizens poured into the city streets intent on revenge. As rocks were thrown at gathering policemen and the situation escalated, A. D. King climbed on top of a parked car and shouted to the rioters in an attempt to quell their fury: “My friends, we have had enough problems tonight. If you’re going to kill someone, then kill me... Stand up for your rights but with nonviolence”

Wow at a time to have courage and yet want revenge. Instead, A.D. King insisted on being non-violent.

In 1965, A.D. King moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where he became pastor at Zion Baptist Church. While there, King continued to fight for civil rights and was successful in a 1968 campaign for an open housing ordinance.

After the assassination of King, Jr., in April 1968, there was speculation that A. D. might become president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). A. D., however, made no effort to assume his brother’s role, although he did continue to be active in the Poor People’s Campaign and other work on behalf of SCLC. Following the death of King, Jr., A. D. King returned to Ebenezer Baptist Church and, in September 1968, was installed as co-pastor. Praised by his father as “an able preacher, a concerned, loving pastor,” A. D. King’s life was tragically cut short when he drowned on 21 July 1969, at the age of 38.

Like his brother, he died at an early age. However, the records show that A.D. King was an excellent swimmer. His body was found in the swimming pool at his house. It is assumed that he was killed before his body was put in the swimming pool. They asked for an autopsy report, however, the information on the report is assumed false because it said he drowned. This is another injustice in the history of America.


We will continue to stand for JUSTICE in our communities, in our counties, in our states, and our federal government.


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