Civil rights group elects MLK's daughter president

Friday, Oct. 30, 2009 4:33 PM
Last updated 7:21 PM
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ATLANTA — The daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has been chosen as the first woman to head the civil rights organization that he co-founded.

The Rev. Bernice King  AP
AP
The Rev. Bernice King

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference announced the election of the Rev. Bernice King as its eighth president today. Interim President Byron Clay called King and said she accepted the position.

"In the spirit of your father, Martin Luther King Jr., we look forward with anticipation to your leadership," Clay told King, 46, as reporters listened to his end of the conversation.

She could be heard responding, "Thank you very much."

"SCLC is a great organization with a rich history," Clay told reporters. "She is excited. I am excited. The nation will be excited."

Today, SCLC has roughly 10,000 members and nearly 80 chapters in 17 states from Georgia to California. The group has also opened a nonviolent conflict resolution center in Israel, with plans to open 10 international sites in 10 years.

Martin Luther King Jr. was the SCLC's first president, serving from 1957 until his death in 1968. His eldest son, Martin Luther King III, was president from 1998 to 2003.

Bernice King inherits an SCLC and issues much changed from the days of her father's leadership. And she will have to work to rebuild the organization, which has stumbled in recent years.

"She can hearken back to her father's legacy, but she's going to have to redefine it," said Emory University political science professor Andra Gillespie. "She now, as his child, is going to have to figure out a way to push that legacy forward so we don't perpetuate a stagnant, chauvinistic civil rights agenda."

Internal bickering has overshadowed signs of progress for SCLC that included paying off millions in debt and opening a $3 million headquarters in Atlanta. A former state director in Florida accused several national leaders of financial mismanagement and the president of the Los Angeles chapter last fall clashed with leadership over his support for gay marriage in California.

Charles Steele resigned as president on Jan. 31 and still works with the group as a conflict resolution consultant. Clay has served as interim president since February. It is not yet known when he will step down and King will take over as president.

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APiratesLife4Me
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APiratesLife4Me 10/30/09 - 08:22 pm
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What do they do? Help poor

What do they do? Help poor white children who's parents have fallen on hard times?

concernednative
28
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concernednative 10/30/09 - 08:36 pm
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apirateslife, try something

apirateslife, try something new its called reading http://www.sclcnational.org/

corgimom
36440
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corgimom 10/30/09 - 08:50 pm
0
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APirate, it isn't anything

APirate, it isn't anything like it used to be in the 1960's and 1970's. It's suffered the same fate as NAACP.

55 F-100
1
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55 F-100 10/30/09 - 10:41 pm
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Oh, there's some good news,

Oh, there's some good news, maybe Bernice can guide some SCLC funds back to the King Center to rebuild it after her brother siphoned off some $ for his own efforts.

Grasshopper
7
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Grasshopper 10/30/09 - 10:47 pm
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The SCLC, has proven time and

The SCLC, has proven time and time again they are a racist organization. They rally from convicted criminals. Create political witch hunts. The SCLS ia about as Christan as the KKK

jaschild
9
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jaschild 10/31/09 - 05:21 am
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diversity and change should

diversity and change should be four-letter words.

ispy4u
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ispy4u 10/31/09 - 05:29 am
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I guess you are just as

I guess you are just as "christian" as both groups?

dani
12
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dani 10/31/09 - 07:15 am
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aww....

aww....

wizzardx1
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wizzardx1 10/31/09 - 07:20 am
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To all of you claiming to be

To all of you claiming to be "Christian"-You seem to have forgotten about "Judge not,lest you be judged".Most "Christians"that I know pick and choose which parts of the Bible applies to them and which parts apply to everyone else.Don't tell us how good a Christian you are,SHOW us.

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