The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech changed history. Tuesday marked the 55th anniversary of that momentous event.
King’s niece, Dr. Alveda King, continues to carry her uncle’s passion for civil rights. She is the director of Civil Rights for the Unborn Child, a part of Priests for Life.
I’ll never forget the first time I met Alveda.
The crew and I traveled to Atlanta to interview her for our weekly television program, “Facing Life Head-On.” At the time, she was somewhat of a new face to the pro-life movement but was quickly making her impact known. I had done my research on Alveda and frankly was a little wary.
Not only was her famous uncle assassinated, her family home was bombed with them in it, as was MLK Jr’s. Her father, “A.D.” King, was found dead in their backyard pool, even though there was no water in his lungs. Alveda’s grandmother, Alberta King, wife of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr., was gunned down while playing the organ at Ebenezer Baptist Church, just yards from where her son was buried.
With this tragic family history, I thought even the most-saintly person would be burdened with anger and resentment. But the total opposite is true. Alveda is one of the most loving and nurturing people I know.
We left that interview convinced she would play an important role in the pro-life movement. In total, Alveda was featured in five TV episodes during our eight-season run.
Alveda has an up close and personal history with abortion. Her parents were unmarried when she was conceived and considered abortion, but her grandfather interceded, saying the unborn baby was a girl who he had seen in a dream three years prior.
Even with her uncertain beginning, Alveda was coerced into having two abortions, and she said, suffered a subsequent miscarriage because of them. When she was expecting her fourth child, her grandfather once again interceded, this time for his great-grandchild.
Part of what drives Alveda is the fact that the abortion industry targets Black women. She has been one of several leading Black pro-life leaders advocating for life, including drawing attention to Planned Parenthood’s eugenic past and present. Individually and collectively, they have been an articulate voice on behalf of all America’s unborn babies.
Alveda believes her famous uncle would be adamantly pro-life if he were alive today. She often sites a line from one of his speeches, “The Negro cannot win if he is willing to sacrifice the futures of his children for immediate personal comfort and safety. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
As we ponder the 55th anniversary of “I Have a Dream,” we’re once again reminded how one person can greatly impact the world for good. Regardless whether lots of people acknowledge your accomplishments, go be that person.
Protecting life together,