Civil rights icon's son steps down as president of King Center

Story highlights

  • Martin Luther King III says he will remain active on the center's board of trustees
  • He is launching a new organization
  • The King Center receives close to a million visitors each year
Martin Luther King III resigned Tuesday as president of The King Center, the Atlanta center built to honor his father's legacy.
King will remain active on the center's board of trustees, but will focus next on launching a new organization, he said in a statement.
"I will be devoting my primary future efforts towards launching a new organization that will focus on supporting a new generation of young 'drum majors for justice' worldwide to expand my commitment to the Kingian principles of nonviolence, social justice, and human rights," he said.
Immediate details on that organization were not available.
King's announcement comes just one day after the nation celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The civil rights icon would have turned 83 this year had a bullet not cut short his life.
A federal holiday to honor the elder King, who was assassinated in April 1968, was first observed in 1986. In 1994, Congress also designated it a national day of service.
"For me, the state of the world and its radically shifting winds in the wrong moral direction, summons the words of my father: 'Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom,'" King said in his statement.
"I am responding to my father's words by renewing and expanding my commitment to the struggle for social justice and human rights."
Close to a million people visit The King Center each year.