Christine King Farris, the only remaining sibling of the renowned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., passed away at 95 on Thursday, a statement from her family affirmed.
Farris’ niece, Bernice King, shared her grief on Twitter, expressing her love and loss for Aunt Christine.
Her nephew, Martin Luther King III, also paid tribute on Twitter, noting that he and his family had been by Farris’s side during her last days.
He praised Farris for her significant legacy and pledged his commitment to passing it on to future generations.
Born as Willie Christine King on September 11, 1927, in Atlanta, Georgia, Farris was the eldest sibling of King Jr. and the first child of Alberta Christine Williams King and the Reverend Martin Luther King Sr.
Following the tragic assassination of King Jr. in 1968, Farris devoted herself to upholding and advocating for his legacy.
She provided invaluable support to King Jr.’s widow, Coretta Scott King, in establishing The King Center and promoting King Jr.’s principles of peaceful resistance.
Farris, unable to partake in Dr. King Jr.’s historic 1963 March on Washington due to a bout of flu where the renowned “I Have a Dream” speech was delivered, did make it to the march’s 50th anniversary, as reported by The Guardian.
On this occasion, she voiced the challenge to honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, leadership, and legacy by perpetuating his unfinished work through how we live.
Farris’s contributions were recognized as an original board member of The King Center, having served as an educator for over six decades.
Upon hearing the news of Farris’s death, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens expressed profound sorrow.
In a press release from his office, he extolled Farris as an influential figure in her own right and hailed her as a proponent of literacy and education.
In her professional capacity, Farris, an author, was a Professor Emerita at Spelman College.
According to the college’s documents, she held the record as the longest-serving faculty member, with a remarkable tenure of 56 years.
Farris was widowed by her husband, Isaac Newton Farris Sr. Her surviving children are Angela Farris Watkins, Isaac Farris Jr., and other family members.