“I love you and will miss you, Aunt Christine,” King’s post read.
Martin Luther King III, son of Martin Luther King Jr., also remembered his aunt, writing on Twitter, “Aunt Christine embodied what it meant to be a public servant,” and that his aunt, just like his dad, spent her life fighting for equality and against racism. “She defied the odds that held back too many marginalized communities–going on to become a civil rights leader and acclaimed author,” he wrote.
“We will truly miss my aunt but know that she leaves behind a tremendous legacy that will outlive us all, and we commit to carrying that legacy on for future generations,” he added.
Born Willie Christine King on September 11, 1927, she was the eldest child of Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King,
She graduated from Spelman College in 1948 with a Bachelor's degree in Economics and earned her Master's in Social Foundations of Education from Columbia University in 1950. She earned a second Master's degree in Special Education in 1958.
Farris married Isaac Newton Farris Sr. on August 19, 1960, and they had two children: Isaac Newton Farris Jr. and Angela Christine Farris Watkins. Issac Newton Farris passed away in 2017.
At Spelman College, she was director of the Freshman Reading Program, a professor of Education and Director of the Learning Resources Center for 48 years before retiring in 2014.
Farris was Vice Chair and Treasurer of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change for several years. She authored a children's book, My Brother Martin, and her autobiography, Through It All: Reflections on My Life, My Family, and My Faith.
“The King Center joins the King and Farris families, civil rights activists, the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church family, academic family, and people of goodwill worldwide in celebrating the life of our servant leader, founding board member, former Vice-Chair & Treasurer, activist, educator, and family matriarch, the beloved Dr. Christine King Farris,” a statement read. “The sister of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. passed on the morning of June 29 at age 95. Celebration of life arrangements will be announced at a later date.”
U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, who serves as senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church where Farris was a long-time member, described her as an “iteration of the American dream.”
“She went on to witness the long arc of American history bend from many changes, much of it pushed forward by her brother,” the senator said, adding, “As her pastor, I can say that up until the very end, she embodied hope, dignity and deep faith. Long live the memory of Christine King Farris.”
We at EBONY extend our prayers and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Christine King Farris.