Alveda King's Pro-Life Views Ignite Discussion at Barnard
By Zahra Khimji
The Columbia Daily Spectator
Daily newspaper of Columbia University and Morningside Heights
October 9, 2007
Pro-life activist and feminist Alveda King, Dr. Martin Luther King’s niece,
shared her thoughts about feminism and free love, and offended some students by
explaining her pro-life stance at Barnard last night.
The event was chiefly sponsored by Columbia Catholic Undergraduates and various
King opened by showing onlookers a picture of King with her mother that was
taken during her campaign for U.S. congress. "I was ... running for
congress then and was very feminist," she said. "I'm still a feminist."
King displayed more pictures of her family, complemented by explanations of each
member and their histories, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"Tradition is very important in our family and non-violence is a King family
tradition," she said.
King proceeded to explain the 1920's civil rights movement. Like her uncle, King
was very active in her early years as a woman in congress. "The true mark
of a civil rights movement is founded in prayer and the strategy sessions that
take place in Church," King said.
King addressed the controversial topic of abortion, explicitly noting her
pro-life position. "Abortion is not a civil right, it is a violent act
that violates the civil rights of an innocent human being," she said. King
equated abortion to murder. "We don't have the right to do something to another
body. It's unjust to take a human being and rip it into pieces," she said.
King discussed the precursors of abortion. "I
don't advocate dating because it leads to sexual misconduct."
Students raised several questions on youth and their involvement in the pro-life
Students had mixed reactions to King's presentation. Katie Fitzgerald, BC '11,
said, "I am someone who is pro-life but I was personally offended by some of the
things she had to say."
Barnard Alumni and organizers Amy DeRosa, BC '74, and Carol Lavis, BC '62 said
they were pleased with the outcome of the event. "The objective was to get
a pro-life message on to the Barnard and Columbia campus and do it in a positive
way," DeRosa said. "We feel that these people [pro-life activists on campus]
need a voice."
Lavis stressed the need for diversity of opinions on campus. "If we believe in
diversity in opinions everyone has to stand up for what they believe in. We feel
there's not enough action on campus."
Zhara Khimji can be reached at