Dr. Alveda C. King has generally positive things to say about the movie “Selma,” but the outspoken anti-abortion activist has joined in the outcry to investigate a clinic in that Alabama city.
Alveda King is the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the slain civil rights icon. Her father, Alfred Daniel Williams King, was MLK’s brother and was a pastor in Newnan when his daughter was a girl.
Though she was disappointed that her father’s contributions were not acknowledged in the film, Alveda King described “Selma” as “historically informative and entertaining.” She is part of a cadre of anti-abortion activists who have spoken out about the Central Alabama Women’s Clinic in Selma.
A press conference was held in Selma on Feb. 11 where local and national organizations drew attention to suspected illegal activity at the clinic. Representatives from Charismatic Episcopal Church for Life, Life Legal Defense Foundation, Operation Rescue and the National Black Pro-Life Coalition gathered directly outside the clinic, calling for a thorough and speedy investigation of the facility from the Alabama Department of Public Health.
According to Alabama regulations, any private practice performing more than nine abortions a month must be licensed by the state. A press release by organizers of the press conference stated Central Alabama Women’s Clinic is not a state-licensed abortion clinic, but seems to be operating as one.
Allison Aranda, LLDF’s senior counsel, said information about illegal activities at the clinic had been provided to ADPH months ago – as well as to the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners.
Alveda King’s name was included in a list of supporters of the project. She is a staff member with Priests for Life.
“We stand with CEC for Life, Life Legal Defense Foundation, Operation Rescue and the National Black Prolife Coalition in demanding that the Alabama Department of Public Health investigate the Central Alabama Women’s Clinic in Selma for suspected violations of abortion regulations,” Alveda King wrote in a blog post.
“The ongoing efforts to address the civil rights of babies in the womb, while ensuring the health and safety of their mothers, the dignity of their fathers, families and their communities are all in keeping with the civil rights struggle of the 20th century which once escalated on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in demonstrations led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” she wrote.
“In the 20th century, battleground Selma was in the crosshairs of the civil rights movement in a battle to gain equality and human dignity for people regardless of skin color. Today, we again join together in Selma for a critical human rights issue, the right to and sanctity of life,” she added.
Alveda King was invited to a pre-release screening of “Selma.” The experience “brought mixed emotions to my heart, and tears to my eyes,” she said.
She recalled that her father’s church parsonage was bombed in Birmingham during the time depicted in the films. She also remembered “the little girls, one a classmate of mine, (who) were killed” when 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham was bombed by racists.
“It was also the season of my first civil rights march, a Children’s March where daddy and James Orange and others taught me the tenets of non-violent protests,” she remembered.
“I was saddened to find no mention of my dad, who not only marched in Selma, but was also felled – and recovered – along with not only John Lewis, but with many others, including Hosea Williams and my dearly departed friend James Orange,” Alveda King said. “I would have appreciated more historical accuracy.”
She concluded, “Overall I enjoyed the film, and I recommend the film for viewing.”
Alveda King is the author of “King Rules” and founder of Alveda King Ministries, as well as spiritual advisor for Restore the Dream 2015. A former college professor, she also was a member of the Georgia State House of Representatives from 1979-1981.
Alfred Daniel Williams King became pastor of Mt. Vernon First Baptist Church in Newnan in 1959. “He only pastored four churches, and one of them was Mt. Vernon,” Dianne Wood of the African-American Alliance said in a 2009 interview.
Mt. Vernon was the first pastorate for the recent Morehouse graduate, and his older brother preached a revival at Mt. Vernon during the time A.D. King was a pastor in Newnan. A.D. King pastored churches in Birmingham, Ala., and Louisville, Ky., before returning to historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he was co-pastor with his father after the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. The co-pastorate at the historic Atlanta church lasted only about a year.
A.D. King, an accomplished swimmer, died July 21, 1969, in what was officially deemed a drowning accident. His death — like that of his brother — has been the subject of controversy in the years since their deaths.