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Christine King Farris

Christine King Farris
Born Willie Christine King
(1927-09-11) September 11, 1927 (age 88)
Atlanta, Georgia
Residence Atlanta, Georgia
Nationality American
Fields Education
Institutions Spelman College, Columbia University
Alma mater Spelman College, Columbia University
Doctoral advisor Template:If empty
Known for Civil rights, teaching, public service

Christine King Farris (born Willie Christine King on September 11, 1927) is the eldest and only living sibling of the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. She teaches at Spelman College and is the author of several books and a public speaker on various topics, including the King family, multicultural education, and teaching. Professor Farris was, for many years, Vice Chair and Treasurer of the King Center and has been active for several years in the International Reading Association, and various church and civic organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.


She is the first child of Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Christine Williams King, and is the elder sister of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Alfred Daniel Williams King I. The three siblings spent their early years in the home of their grandparents, Adam Daniel Williams, who died in 1931, and Jennie Celeste Parks Williams, who died ten years later in 1941.

Christine Farris married Isaac Newton Farris, Sr. on August 19, 1960. They had two children: Angela Christine Farris Watkins and Isaac Newton Farris, Jr., who currently serves as CEO of the King Center.

Family tragedies

Farris has endured the murder of one brother in 1968, the drowning of another brother in 1969, and the murder of her mother in 1974. Farris has not returned to Memphis, Tennessee, since she traveled there after the assassination of her brother to retrieve his body. In recent years, she has attended the funerals of her niece Yolanda King and sister-in-law, Coretta Scott King. In an interview with CNN, she said she would not attend an April 2008 event marking the 40th anniversary of her brother's assassination, because of the painful memories of her last visit to Memphis.


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