Niece of slain civil rights leader speaks in Des Moines.
Alveda King was the featured speaker at an MLK observance at North High School. She continues a two-day visit to Des Moines today.
King is a civil rights activist and former Georgia state legislator. She recalls how she learned forgiveness from her father the night in 1968 when her uncle was killed in Memphis.
“I’m in the kitchen boohooing,” King recalls. “I hate white people. They killed my uncle. And he said you can’t hate white people. White people live with us. White people pray with us. White people march with us. White people die with us.”
Alveda King was once arrested as a protester in the open housing movement. And her family suffered violence at the hands of segregationists who bombed their home in Birmingham, Alabama.
King praises younger Americans who do not distinguish between black and white among their peers.
“Unless someone’s been taught the wrong things from adults,” King says, “young people generally don’t say black friend and white friend. They just say friend. That’s something we have to learn.”
About 300 people turned out for last night’s event. Alveda King continues to work for civil rights and as an activist in the Religious Right movement.