Christine King Farris: Sister of Martin Luther King Jr dies at 95

In a heartfelt gathering of spirit and solidarity, People of African Descent in the United States’ came together to mourn the loss of Mrs. Christine King Farris, the last living sibling of Reverend Martin Luther King Jnr who died on June 29, 2023 aged 95. As a civil rights activist, sister to the civil rights icon MLK, and professor at the Historically Black Women’s College, Spelman, her legacy resonates deeply within the hearts of countless individuals whose lives she touched through her tireless dedication to education, civil rights, and the pursuit of equality in Atlanta and beyond.

Christine King Farris, a woman of many crowns. Illustration from The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Christine King Farris, born on September 11, 1927, in Atlanta, Georgia, grew up during a time of immense racial inequality. However, her spirit remained unyielding and undaunted by the fight. From an early age, Farris was committed to driving change and justice. Her passion for education flourished during her time as a student at Spelman, where she thrived in an environment that nurtured her intellectual curiosity and fostered her innate leadership abilities.

A true trailblazer and advocate for justice, Farris was not only a sister to the iconic Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but she also played a significant role in the civil rights movement. She volunteered her time to support her brother’s leadership and actively participated in nonviolent demonstrations, including the historic Selma to Montgomery March for Voting Rights in 1965 and the March Against Fear in Mississippi in 1966.

Despite the great tragedy of her brother’s assassination, Farris resolved to preserve his life and teachings. In collaboration with her sister-in-law, Coretta Scott King, she played a pivotal role in establishing the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, a pilgrimage site that attracts visitors from around the world.

Christine King Farris penned three books, including “Through It All: Reflections of My Life, My Family, and My Faith.” Image from PUBLIC DOMAIN

Farris was not only an activist but also an accomplished author. She penned three books: “My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” “Through It All: Reflections of My Life, My Family, and My Faith,” and “March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World.” Her literary contributions earned her accolades, including the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work and the International Reading Association’s Teachers’ Choices Award.

Throughout her life, Farris was honored with numerous awards, including Spelman’s first Fannie Lou Hamer Award, the Hyatt Hotels Heritage Community Service Award, and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Bennett College. She was also a devoted member of Ebenezer Baptist Church and held memberships in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., The LINKS, Inc., and the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College.

Christine King Farris, a woman of many crowns, embodied the principles of love, compassion, and equality that defined the civil rights movement. Her grace, resilience, and unwavering commitment to justice serve as a guiding light for all those who continue to strive for a more inclusive and harmonious society.

As the Black diaspora community mourns the loss of this remarkable woman, they also celebrate the immeasurable impact she made during her time on Earth. Farris’ legacy will forever resonate within the halls of Spelman College and far beyond. Her spirit will continue to inspire individuals to speak out against injustice, educate themselves and others, and tirelessly work for a world where equality reigns supreme.

The King Family. Image from PUBLIC DOMAIN

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.” Christine King Farris, through her luminous life, illuminated the path toward a brighter future for all. May her light continue to shine brightly, guiding us on our journey toward a more just and compassionate world.

Farris joins her late husband Isaac Farris Sr., leaving behind her family, including , her children Isaac Newton Farris Jr. and Angela Christine Farris Watkins, and her grandchildren Farris Christine Watkins. She is also the aunt of Bernice A. King and Jennifer Beal Fields, all of whom carry on her family’s legacy of faith and dedication to social justice.

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