FORTWAYNE — Her uncle and father were famous “Sons of Thunder” who fought for civil rights in the United States in the 1960s. “Sons of Thunder” was the name they were given because they could imitate their father’s preaching and oratory style. Forty years later, Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and daughter of Rev. A.D. King, continues to thunder the civil rights’ cause, this time for the unborn.
King is a mother of six “surviving babies” as she called them at the Allen County Right to Life pro-life rally and march Jan. 28 in the Scottish Rite Auditorium. She is also a doting grandmother.
King, following the footsteps of her father and uncle, is a minister of the Gospel and serves as the director of African-American Outreach for Gospel of Life, coordinated by Priests for Life.
King related the civil rights marches and introduced her talk with many of the freedom songs from the movement.
“We will be marching for freedom and the lives of the unborn who are like a slave in the womb of their mom,” she said. “As you are marching today, just remember that when we marched for freedom, we were not afraid because God was on our side, and were able to sing hymns of freedom and praise to him.”
King said that she was encouraged as she watched the auditorium fill to near capacity and heard the words of U.S. Rep Mark Souder (R-3rd District).
King encouraged those gathered to let the elected officials who promote prolife issues “know that you are with them.” King, too, was an elected official at one time. “Sometimes we just need to hear the voice of the people say, ‘Keep on. We are with you’ ... They need your prayers,” she said.
King married a year after her uncle’s assassination in 1968. Her father was found in the family pool dead from a bruise to the head a year later. She and her husband had a son, but King was pregnant again shortly after the birth of her first child. When she went to the doctor, without even asking, the doctor told King, “You don’t want another baby.”
“The doctor made the decision for me,” King said, and gave her an involuntary D-and-C.
“My personality changed right away,” she said. “I became argumentative, combative, not feeling well.” Her husband asked, “What happened to the person I married? Where is she? Who are you?” The marriage ended in divorce.
In 1973, after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, she and her first husband tried to reconcile their marriage, but it wasn’t working. Again, she was pregnant. “We both said, ‘We don’t need another baby. We’re not getting along,’” King related. “So the law had passed, I went to the doctor and the doctor said, ‘Well it won’t be as bad as pulling a tooth. It won’t hurt. It’s a blob of tissue. It would be done in a hospital. ‘Insurance will pay for it.’ Third baby - gone.”
For the next 10 years, until 1983 when she was born again, King said she was a “woman’s libber.” During that time she met her daughter Celeste’s father.
Again King was unmarried, pregnant and thinking about abortion. Celeste’s father said, “Nobody’s going to abort a baby of mine,” related King.
“And so I went to my favorite African-American man, Daddy King (her grandfather). ...Everything that I ever asked him he gave me,” King said. But when she announced her thoughts about aborting the baby, he said, “Nobody’s going to kill a baby of mine.”
That was two African-American men who “stood up for truth, justice and life,” King remarked. Celeste, now an adult, accompanied her mother at the talk.
King discussed the healing power of God and related a recent conversation with a famous prochoice man whom she would not name. “You know you must really be a big hypocrite,” the man told her, “because from listening to your story, you need to be on death row — you’re a murderer.”
King responded, “You know, you’re right. Except I got a pardon from the greatest king and the greatest judge whom will ever be. ... And because of Jesus Christ, I am forgiven.” There are “survivors” - any child born after 1973 - and the “overcomers,” King related. “Because of that, the overcomers, like me, who have overcome the tricks of the devil, ... have lived to tell the truth of it. We are here today - that’s why we are marching. ... And (God) promised that if we come back to him, he will lead us, and we will be cleansed and healed.”
Last year, when King felt disheartened about the death of Terri Schiavo and when the Supreme Court did not overturn Roe v. Wade, she turned to God in prayer. She said, “God moved on my spirit and he said, ‘The hearts of the people must be changed. We have to take the long road home.’
“He didn’t say ‘no,’” King said. “It’s gonna happen. It’s gonna happen soon.” She said the large number of young people under 30 at the rally offered encouragement.
King said that faith-works by love will change hearts. “So when we see those young girls going into the clinic, it can’t be, ‘Oh, look at those wicked girls going into the clinic,’” she said. “It is wicked, and they shouldn’t kill the baby if it happens. But it should be, ‘Look at those precious little girls who need the truth. How can we reach them in prayer?’ “Stand there with your pride, with your compassion, and your love.” she said. “Let them know that if they need for you to be with them through that nine month period, and even after, your prayers are going to be there, your support. Let them know how precious life is.”
“Life is important, life is precious, life is sweet, and as you march today, know that God goes with you, love goes with you, truth goes with you and truly ‘We shall overcome,’” King said.