In Memoriam: Dexter Scott King
Remembering the Legacy of a Civil Rights Icon
Dexter Scott King, the son of the iconic civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., peacefully passed away at the age of 62, succumbing to prostate cancer at his residence in Malibu, California. This somber news was confirmed by the King Center, an institution where Dexter served as chairman, underscoring his commitment to his father’s enduring legacy.
Dedication to Legacy
A dedicated attorney, Dexter King devoted his adult life to the preservation of his father’s profound impact on civil rights and the safeguarding of the King family’s intellectual property. In addition to his pivotal role as chairman of the King Center, he also held the esteemed position of president of the King’s estate.
Honoring Dexter’s Name
Named after the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, where Martin Luther King Jr. once served as a pastor, Dexter King’s passing was confirmed by his wife, Leah Weber King, who revealed that he passed away peacefully in his sleep.
A Reflection on Loss
The loss of his father at the tender age of 7 during the tragic 1968 assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, left an indelible mark on Dexter King. Reflecting on this profound moment in his 2004 memoir, “Growing Up King,” he described it as the abrupt end to his carefree childhood.
Visual Echoes of the Past
Beyond his significant contributions to the King Center, Dexter King was renowned for his uncanny resemblance to his father, even stepping into his shoes to portray him in a notable 2002 TV movie centered around Rosa Parks. His recent passing compounds the family’s previous losses, with Coretta Scott King’s departure in 2006 and Yolanda King’s in 2007.
Expressions of Grief
In expressing the family’s collective grief, Martin Luther King III, Dexter’s elder brother, remarked, “The sudden shock is devastating. It is challenging to find the right words at a moment like this. We earnestly seek your prayers for the entire King family during this difficult time.” Meanwhile, the Rev. Bernice A. King, the youngest of the siblings, shared her profound heartbreak over losing yet another beloved family member.