King — an actor, speaker and producer — was the founder and head of Higher Ground Productions, billed as a “gateway for inner peace, unity and global transformation.” On her company’s Web site, King described her mission as encouraging personal growth and positive social change.
King also was an author and held memberships in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference — which her father co-founded in 1957 — and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Her death comes more than a year after the death of her mother, Coretta Scott King.
She was the most visible and outspoken among the Kings’ four children during this year’s Martin Luther King Day in January, the first since her mother’s death. At her father’s former Atlanta church, Ebenezer Baptist, she performed a series of solo skits that told stories including a girl’s first ride on a desegregated bus and a college student’s recollection of the 1963 desegregation of Birmingham, Ala.
She also urged the audience to be a force for peace and love, and to use the King holiday each year to ask tough questions about their own beliefs on prejudice.
Born in Montgomery, Alabama, King was a human rights worker and actress. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc. (the official national memorial to her father) and was founding Director of the King Center’s Cultural Affairs Program. She served on the Partnership Council of Habitat for Humanity, was a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a sponsor of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and held a lifetime membership in the NAACP. King received a B.A. degree with honors from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, a Masters degree in Theatre from New York University and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Marywood University. In 1978 she starred as Rosa Parks in the TV miniseries King (which was based on her father’s life and released on DVD in 2005).