July 21, 1969, was a very famous day in American history. It wasn’t just the day Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. It was also the day Dr. A.D. King—civil rights activist and brother to Martin Luther King Jr.—was found dead. His daughter, Dr. Alveda King, tells me many people suspected he was murdered.
I’ve known Alveda for many years, and she has shared some tremendous insights on my “Strang Report” podcast. She is an adviser to President Donald Trump and on the board of the King Center and many other ministries, including Promise Keepers.
In a recent interview, she told me that a week before her father’s suspected murder, he walked her down the wedding aisle. The night he died, Alveda remembers overhearing a suspicious conversation on the phone. (Click here or on the podcast icon to hear Alveda tell the story.)
“My father was talking to someone on the phone,” she says. “Daddy’s voice was raised. He said, ‘I know you guys killed my brother. I’m not going to stop. I’m going to keep searching. I’m not letting it go.'”
Alveda was surprised to hear her father’s conversation. She remembered the year before when her “Uncle ML,” as she called him, was assassinated. She screamed, “I hate white people!”
But her father held her close and told her, “You have to love. You have to forgive. White people march with us, go to jail with us, pray with us, die with us.”
Alveda had to choose forgiveness again when family members discovered her father’s body floating in the pool. Reports indicated it was an accidental drowning, but Alveda knew better.
“My father was there in designer underwear,” she says. “He never swam in underwear—he just didn’t do that. And he was a championship swimmer from Morehouse College with awards. So they pulled him out [of the pool], and he was in a fetal position.”
As they drained the body, they discovered no water in A.D. King’s lungs. But they did find a large bruise on his head. One of the responders even told Alveda her father was dead when he hit the water.
“Then the fire chief came up,” she says. “And he was real gruff. ‘Get this woman away from him. She’s hysterical!’ I wasn’t hysterical. I was just asking, ‘Why was there no water in his lungs, and you guys keep saying he drowned?”
But Alveda remembered the words her father had told her the year before. She knew she couldn’t hate the people who murdered her father. In honor of his legacy, she chose to forgive.
“I have forgiven all of that,” she says. “Somehow I haven’t totally forgotten, but I truly have forgiven. And I was taught to love and forgive and to trust God to make things right.”
Alveda also wrote a lovely poem in honor of her father’s memory, which she shares on the podcast. Read her powerful words below:
Born of a preacher
In the shadow of the dream,
Upholding the plight of the downtrodden
Blood brother to Martin
Brother in spirit to the masses
To know him was to experience great joy
As he preached in the Word of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Saying, “Peace be still!”
Rev. Dr. A.D. Williams King I
I hope those beautiful words inspired you. I encourage you to listen to the podcast to hear Alveda share the poem herself. If you like what you hear, share this article on your social media. Let’s honor A.D. King’s powerful legacy today.