Alveda King remembers being overcome with grief when her uncle, Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated in 1968. When her father, A.D. King, told the family his brother was dead, Alveda screamed, “I hate white people!”
Her father held her in his arms and told her, “We can’t hate white people. We’re one blood. We can’t hate white people. White people march with us. We can’t hate white people. White people go to jail with us. We can’t hate white people. White people die with us. White people didn’t kill my brother, your uncle. The devil did. We have to forgive.”
This comment changed the trajectory of Alveda’s life and is a message all of America needs to hear.
Dr. Alveda King, an adviser to President Donald Trump, is on the board of the King Center and many other ministries, including Promise Keepers. She has become a good friend of mine over the past several years. Recently, she went in-depth with me on my new podcast, “In Depth With Stephen Strang,” which you can listen to here or below. Today she is a highly respected evangelist, an advocate for the unborn, an author and a musician.
Alveda tells me that her father’s lesson of forgiveness stuck with her, but she had to learn it the hard way. A little over a year later—a week after Alveda’s wedding—her father was also assassinated.
“That was somewhat of a confusing time, to be honest with you,” she says. “Not only were two of the strongest men in our bloodline gone and dead, but [my grandfather] Daddy King had just been our anchor and our pillar, and he was very bereaved and grieved. So it was a bewildering time, but we had faith, hope and love. And that’s the message we all clung to.”
Although the coroner’s report said A.D. King accidentally drowned, Alveda tells me she and her mother saw several bruises on her father’s head and body. He was wearing his undergarments, not a bathing suit. Furthermore, he was curled up in a fetal position—and there was no water in his lungs.
“But you have to remember that Daddy’s home was bombed in Birmingham, just like his brother Martin’s home was bombed in Montgomery,” she says. “He was arrested many times and brutalized.”
And the murder didn’t end there. Several years later, a young man walked into the King family’s church and shot Alveda’s grandmother, Alberta. The shooter mistook Alberta for Coretta, Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife, but the murder still devastated the King family.
“So [the young man] sits down in the first or second row, right where he could see her,” she says. “He takes a weapon and takes aim and shoots her and shoots sporadically around the church auditorium. Other members were shot, and my grandmother was fatally shot. … So here Daddy King is, the love of his life is dead, his sons are dead, but it’s reported that he went to the jail where Marcus Wayne Chenault, who had shot his wife, was. And he said, ‘Son, you’ve taken away the most precious thing to me on earth. And yet, I forgive you.'”
Alveda often marched with her father and uncle to peacefully protest for equal rights for blacks. Police threw her in jail several times, but that didn’t stop her. She knew life was worth protecting.
That desire to protect life now drives Alveda to fight for the rights of the unborn. She leads Priests for Life and is executive producer for the pro-life film Roe v. Wade. But Alveda didn’t always feel so strongly about saving unborn lives. In fact, she was coerced into having several abortions before she gave her heart to Jesus.
And Alveda almost lost her own life to abortion. Her mother, Naomi, was still in college and only engaged at the time she got pregnant with Alveda. Naomi wanted to finish college, so the young couple considered ending the pregnancy.
“But my grandfather said, ‘They’re lying to you,'” Alveda says. “‘That’s not a lump of flesh. That’s my granddaughter. I’ve seen her in a dream three years ago. And she has bright skin and bright red hair, and she’s going to bless many people.’ So my daddy and my mother would laugh through the years, and they remembered that they chose life for me because of that prophetic word from my grandfather, Martin Luther King Sr.”
Alveda experienced a similar moment with her grandfather many years later, when she was considering aborting one of her pregnancies.
“So I told my granddad, ‘I’m going to get an abortion,'” she says. “‘It’s legal now. I’m going out to Planned Parenthood because they’re friends of women.’ And my granddaddy looked at me, and he said, ‘They’re lying to you. That’s not a lump of flesh. That’s my great-grandchild. You’re going to have that baby.’ … I didn’t understand this, but that young man is an attorney today. He’s married, and they’re expecting their first child.”
Alveda chose life that day, but she didn’t meet Jesus until she was a college professor in Atlanta in 1983. One of the women who worked at the college always carried with her a large red Bible. Others told Alveda to stay away from her because she was a religious fanatic. But Alveda wanted to know more.
“She says, ‘Who is Jesus?'” Alveda says. “She asked me three times. So I gave all of my theology from Easter services—He rose from the dead. I gave all of my theology from studying the religions of the world. The last time she asked me, I looked at her, and I said, ‘I guess He’s God.’ I was mad by then because she was showing me I wasn’t so smart. And then I said, ‘I know He’s God.'”
Alveda tells me that at that moment, it was like light bulbs went off in her head. She was thirsty to know God, so she began asking this woman all sorts of questions about Jesus and the Bible. Verse by verse, the woman showed Alveda how to repent of her sins and confess Jesus as her Lord.
“From that day on, I said, ‘Yes, Lord, I’ll follow You,'” she says. “I lost many things—a fortune, because I was married to a wealthy doctor-lawyer, and we were popular. I lost credibility. People said I had lost my mind, that I was a fanatic. But I became pro-life. … It’s been a wonderful life with many experiences, but my Christian conversion will always be my most memorable moment—how Jesus rescued me.”
I hope Alveda’s real-life stories of forgiveness, redemption and prophecy ministered to you. She shares much more in her full interview, which you can listen to here or below. Be sure to share this article with your friends, and may we all remember that in Christ, we can fully forgive.