Alberta Williams King

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Alberta Williams King
Alberta Christine Williams

(1904-09-13)September 13, 1904
DiedJune 30, 1974(1974-06-30) (aged 69)
Cause of deathAssassination (gunshot wounds)
EducationSpelman Seminary
Hampton University
ChildrenMartin Luther King, Jr. (deceased)
Christine King Farris
Alfred Daniel Williams King (deceased)
Parent(s)Reverend Adam Daniel Williams (1863-1931)
Jennie Celeste Parks Williams (1873-1941)

Alberta Christine Williams King (September 13, 1904 – June 30, 1974) was the mother of Martin Luther King, Jr.. She was married to Martin Luther King, Sr. for 58 years.

She had an important part in the activities of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. The church is now a part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. She was shot and killed in the church six years after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.[1]

Biography[change | change source]

Alberta Christine Williams was born on September 13, 1904 in Atlanta, Georgia.[2] Her father was Reverend Adam Daniel Williams. He was then the pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Jennie Celeste (Parks) Williams was her mother.[3] She earned a teaching certificate at the Hampton Normal and Industrial Institute in 1924. Later the college name became just Hampton University.

Williams met Martin Luther King, Sr. right before she left for school at Hampton. After graduating, she and King got formally engaged at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. She taught for a short time before their Thanksgiving Day wedding in 1926. She then had to quit because married female teachers were not allowed at that time. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. He was one of their three children.

Alberta King's mother died on May 18, 1941 of a heart attack. The King family later moved to a large yellow brick house three blocks away. Alberta was president of the Ebenezer Women's Committee from 1950 to 1962. She was also a talented musician who became the choir organist and director at Ebenezer. This may have been the reason her son was interested in Black music and art.[4] By the end of this time, Martin Luther King Sr. and Jr. were sharing the role of pastors of the church.

Death[change | change source]

On June 30, 1974, King was shot dead in a church by a 23-year-old man while she was playing the organ in Atlanta, Georgia. She died six years after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., aged 69.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. Winchester, Simon. "From the archive, 1 July 1974: Martin Luther King's mother slain in church Alberta King, mother of the late Rev Martin Luther King, was shot and killed today as she played the organ for morning service". Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  2. "Stanford University biography of Alberta King". Archived from the original on 2013-06-16. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
  3. Ancestry of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr
  4. Lewis V. Baldwin, The Voice of Conscience: The Church in the Mind of Martin Luther King, Jr (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010, 27)
  5. African American registry article on death of Alberta King

Other websites[change | change source]