Over 50 years ago, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. But his niece Alveda King says his message didn’t die with him—in fact, if anything, his message of agape love is more relevant than ever for our country.
Alveda is a close friend of mine, and I immensely respect her opinion. I admire the way she speaks out fearlessly for righteousness and the way she articulates complex or controversial ideas so clearly.
So for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I thought there was no one more qualified to speak about Dr. King’s enduring legacy in our country. After all, Alveda even lived in the same Atlanta home as Dr. King for many years and got a firsthand look at his tireless work for the African-American community during the civil rights movement. You can see that home, called the “Birth Home,” in this article’s header image, behind Alveda, her three sons (Eddie, Joshua and John) and I. Dr. King is buried just one block away, at the King Center.
On today’s episode of my “Strang Report” podcast, Alveda reflects on her uncle’s life and memory. She says her uncle would want modern Americans to remember to love one another.
“I believe the most important thing is that we know John 3:16, that we know the love of God,” Alveda says. “I believe if my Uncle Martin Luther King Jr. were here today, he would say ‘Don’t spend your time arguing about the wall or [if] it’s OK to abort a baby,’ or all of these different kinds of things. He’d say, ‘Don’t forget to take care of the poor. Don’t forget the baby in the womb. Don’t forget the sick. Don’t forget the elderly. Learn how to love each other.'”
Alveda told me her favorite quote by Dr. King was, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
“He also said when you value the human personality, you won’t kill anybody,” Alveda says. “He would say, ‘Don’t be violent in seeking your solutions. Seek the love of God and love each other.’ I really believe if he were here today, that would still be his message, because those are the things he said during his lifetime.”
Dr. King, or “Uncle M. L.,” as Alveda calls him, was compared to several biblical characters during his life. As a child, Alveda says he and his brother—her father, Rev. A. D. King—were nicknamed the “sons of thunder,” an allusion to the disciples James and John. Later in his life, Dr. King was compared both to King David, an imperfect man after God’s own heart, and to the apostle John, for his emphasis on agape love above all else.
But I was especially intrigued when Alveda told me her uncle thought of himself as being like Moses.
“He was now embroiled in the Civil Rights movement,” Alveda says. “Rosa Parks had refused to [give up her] seat on the bus, and she had come to him. The movement was moving forward, and the people were making tremendous demands. The way my uncle would say it, it was almost like the Hebrews when they were leaving Egypt, and it was so difficult.
“So Uncle M. L. began to pray while he was having a cup of coffee at midnight in his home, and he pretty much said, ‘God I don’t know if I can do this: leading these people, this great people. It’s so hard, and it’s so difficult.’ He said that he heard the voice of Jesus say, ‘Martin Luther, stand up for truth. Stand up for justice. And lo, I will never leave you even until the end of the earth.’ That strengthened Uncle M.L., and his own spiritual life began to change.”
That spiritual strength must run in the bloodline, because today, Alveda has become a champion for one of today’s most important civil rights causes: the end of abortion. She participated in the March for Life over the weekend and told me about the incredible unity she saw on display. Listen to today’s episode below to find out what she said.
That’s not the only cause she’s taken up. She’s also been a leading advocate for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. Earlier this month, she explained on the “Strang Report” the spiritual connection between Nehemiah and President Trump. The episode has since become my most downloaded episode ever of the podcast.
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