WASHINGTON, June 29 (Reuters) – Christine King Farris, the sister of slain U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr and a prominent activist herself, died on Thursday at the age of 95.
Farris died peacefully in Atlanta, Georgia, with her family by her side, according to the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, of which she was a founding board member.
Farris participated in historic events of the civil rights movement, including the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and the “March Against Fear” in Mississippi in 1966.
“Shaping the history of the journey of America in the 20th and 21st centuries, she stood for peace, freedom, and justice—virtues that reflect the best of our nation,” U.S. President Joe Biden said in a written statement. “Jill and I are saddened to learn of her peaceful passing today in Atlanta.”
Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968 by avowed segregationist James Earl Ray. That year, Farris and his widow Coretta Scott King formed the King Center.
Farris joined a delegation to Washington in 2011 when Martin Luther King Jr’s monument was erected on the National Mall and was present for the 2017 unveiling of a statue of her brother at the state Capitol.
Willie Christine King was born on September 11, 1927, in Atlanta. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Spelman College in 1948 and later attended New York’s Columbia University, where she earned two master’s degrees in education.
She went on to become an educator, and director of the Learning Resources Center at Spelman until her retirement in 2014.
She was married to Isaac Newton Farris Sr for 57 years until his death in 2017. The couple had two children, Isaac Newton Farris Jr and Angela Farris Watkins.
In 2003, she published a memoir on her childhood and upbringing with her brother.
Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington, additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Michael Perry