Did Martin Luther King Have Any Brothers or Sisters?

By Staff WriterLast Updated May 27, 2020 7:52:43 PM ET
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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had two siblings: an older sister named Christine King Farris, and a younger brother named Alfred Daniel "A.D." Williams King. Christine was born on September 11, 1927, and is still alive as of 2019. A.D. was born on July 30, 1930, and died on July 21, 1969.

More About Christine King Farris  

King's sister, Christine King Farris, was born in Atlanta and grew up with her two younger brothers, their parents, and their grandparents. At the age of 16, she entered Spelman College, where she joined several clubs, including the glee club, and was voted "Most Distinguished Student." She graduated with a degree in economics and went on to attend Columbia University, where she earned two master's degrees in education.

She taught elementary school for eight years before returning to Spelman and becoming an associate professor. During that time, she wrote three books about her life and her famous brother. She retired in 2014. Farris was married to Isaac Newton Farris Sr. until his death and had two children, Isaac Newton Farris Jr. and Angela Christine Farris Watkins. 

More About A.D. Williams King 

While King's brother, A.D. Williams King, often appeared at his brother's speeches and marches, he was a bit more rebellious than his older siblings. At the age of 20, he married Naomi Barber, and the couple went on to have five children. He graduated from Morehouse College in 1959 and went on to work as a pastor at Mount Vernon First Baptist Church in Newnan, Georgia, about 40 miles southwest of Atlanta. After his brother's death, he joined his father as co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church. In 1969, he died from an accidental drowning in his own swimming pool. 

Dr. King's Parents

In addition to his siblings, Dr. King grew up with parents and grandparents, including his father, Martin Luther King Sr. The elder King was originally born in Stockbridge, Georgia, and he went on to become the pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church and an important part of the Atlanta civil rights community. He died in 1984. King's mother, Alberta Williams King, was also born and raised in Atlanta. She was a teacher before marrying Martin Luther King Sr. and starting a family. In 1974, Alberta Williams King was playing the organ at Ebenezer Baptist Church when a man entered and shot and killed her.  

Coretta Scott King

Dr. King married Coretta Scott in 1953. Born in Alabama, she holds degrees in music, education, voice, and violin. She spent the next few years supporting her husband's activism and raising the couple's four children. After her husband's death, Coretta Scott King dedicated her life to his philosophy. She died in 2006. 

Dr. King's Children

Dr. King and his had four children: Yolanda Denise King, Martin Luther King III, Dexter Scott King, and Bernice Albertine King. Yolanda King died in 2007, but the other three are still alive as of December 2019. 

Dr. King's Grandchildren

Dr. King has one grandchild: Yolanda Renee King. Named for her late aunt, Yolanda is the daughter of Martin Luther King III and was 10 years old as of 2019. 

Dr. King's Nieces and Nephews 

Dr. King has seven nieces and nephews. His sister had two children: Angela Christine Farris Watkins and Isaac Newton Farris Jr. His brother had five children: Alfred King II, Darlene King, Derek King, Vernon King, and Alveda King.