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“Unfullfilled legacy: The King children”

Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith

Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith

“Unfullfilled legacy: The King children”

By Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith

    “Honor thy mother and thy father…” (Exodus 20:12a)

It has been an interesting Black History month thus far. There is another white male on trial for murdering another unarmed Black child. This time the killer felt threatened because the youth was armed with loud music.

And the children of Martin Luther King, Jr. have decided that their inter family squabbles should be resolved in the public instead of behind closed doors at family conferences. They have disgraced the contributions of their father and the sacrifices of their mother. Even worse, two of them are determined to sell significant and personal articles from King’s historic life, including the Nobel Peace Prize he won in 1969.

To call their (Dexter and Martin III’s) intentions disgraceful and self-serving may be the understatement of the millennium. With the adult King children, it seems it is always about money. David J. Garrow, who is a Pulitzer Prize winning King biographer, said it better than I ever could. He said this: “Unfortunately all of the children seem to regard their father’s legacy as first and foremost an income maximization opportunity for themselves.” True that.

They sue and countersue each other and change sides so often I’m sure their lawyers are as confused as most of us are. I’m not certain if this is the third or fourth court battle.  One time allies Bernice and Martin III are now adversaries as Martin III has sided with Dexter in wanting to sell heirlooms of their father’s legacy.

While they have been consumed with the materialism of what they received from their father, they do not seem nearly as attentive as their father was to making the lives of people and the world a much better place to live in. It is true that they may not be able to do all that he did or even do it as well as he did it but there is no excuse for the three of them not to be leaders of worth among our people. None.

Then again it may well be that while they have inherited their father’s legacy, they inherited little else. Or it may be that they feel the sacrifices their parents made are more than enough.  They may feel any more is unreasonable for us to expect and beyond them to give any more than the King family has already given.

Yet the Jesus they say they believe in said this in St. Luke 12:48b, “For everyone to whom much is given much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” (NKJV)  In other words, if you’ve been given a lot, you’re supposed to do a lot.

And the King children have been given a lot through who their father is and what he accomplished and because of the love with reverence we have for him. If there are any children who have been allowed entre into the portals of power just because, it is the King children. We have been committed to them because their parents were committed to us.

They have been given privilege and favor not because they have earned such but because of who they are. I have no issues with that; we see it all the time among the wealthy and advantaged but I do believe the King children should be known by the world for something other than trying to get rich off the martyrdom of their father and the momentous, meaningful life of their mother.

One of the items Dexter and Martin III want to sell is their father’s “traveling Bible.” It was the Bible that went everywhere that he went. It is a symbol of a man who’s every move, every strategy and every idea had its foundation in the infallible Word of God. It must have been with Martin in Birmingham, in Atlanta, in Chicago and in Memphis. Our travel Bibles are important to us and have great value to us. Ask any preacher.

It’s too bad that Bible is not with him still. Because if it were in that grave with Martin, it could not been sold as a memento. It is the symbol of the faith of a man who understood he was living  in a time where blood enclosed in sacrifice was the cost of freedom and he was willing to pay that cost.

His children, like many of us, have yet to understand the true worth of what he did.

Think about it.


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