Bernice King kicks off Kent State University’s Black History Month celebration

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 11:28 PM EST
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KENT, Ohio (WOIO) - As we celebrate Black History Month the daughter of the late Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King spoke to a crowd of more than 800 people at Kent State University on Thursday evening.

Doctor Bernice A. King, MLK’s youngest daughter shared her insight on the challenges our country faces today, and told the group about the life lessons she’s learned from both her father and mother.

In a casual setting, Doctor Bernice King answered questions from a KSU Professor as they sat on stage in the ballroom at Kent State’s Student Center. King said she was only 5 years old when her father was assassinated.

But her mother taught her and her siblings early in life she didn’t have to worry about filling anyone else’s shoes and to just be the best version of herself. “She would say, ‘I want you all to know that you don’t have to be your father, but, whatever you do in this life, be your best self’.”

Bernice King is a global peace advocate and the CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta.

King works to advance her parents’ legacy of nonviolent social change through policy, advocacy, research, education and training. It’s under her leadership, that the King Center has initiated programs reaching more than a half-a-million people worldwide.

King says what’s most important is that when a group mobilizes to fight for a cause they need to work to change things by protesting not just a day or two, or a week or two, but until they get results.

She also said it’s critical to live by her father’s rule of non-violence to get your point across.

“We want to be able to draw from that higher level of thinking, other than our emotional selves. That emotion can be fuel. It was fuel for my father in the movement. Non-violence really was a way to channel the anger, and the hurt and the pain. It’s just something that could bring about a constructive outcome.”