50 years after King's death, his children are still grieving
ATLANTA (AP) — On April 4, 1968, a movement lost its patriarch when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed on a hotel balcony in Memphis.
Yolanda, Martin, Dexter and Bernice King lost their father.
The loss has not gotten easier in 50 years, but his three surviving children each bear it on their own terms.
"That period, for me, is like yesterday," said Dexter King, now 57. "People say it's been 50 years, but I'm living in step time. Forget what he did in terms of his service and commitment and contribution to humankind. ... I miss my dad."
His children cling to the few memories they have left of him. For years, they have had to publicly mourn a man who was among the most hated in America at the time of his death – a task they have been reluctant and, at times, angry to carry out.
Now that King is among the most beloved figures in the world, his heirs are forced to share him with the multitudes who have laid claim to his legacy. For more than a decade, they have had to do this without two of the family's cornerstones: their mother, Coretta Scott King, who died in 2006, and eldest child, Yolanda, who died in 2007.
As adults, the siblings have earned a reputation over their infighting, which has spilled into rancorous lawsuits over heirlooms including their father's Bible and Nobel Peace Prize.
Today, the three say they are in a "good place" and have managed to compartmentalize their differences and come together as a family in times of difficulty.