King's Daughter to Head SCLC

Bernice King to be first woman to head group
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2009 11:52 AM CDT
Rev. Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., speaks during a memorial service for her sister, Yolanda, as her brothers Dexter, left, and Martin Luther III look on, May 24, 2007.   (AP Photo/John Bazemore/file)
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(Newser) – Bernice King was elected to lead the Southern Christian Leadership Conference today, becoming the first woman to helm the civil rights organization her father, Martin Luther King Jr., co-founded. King wasn’t there for the board vote, which she won 23-15 over an Arkansas judge, so interim president Byron Clay called to give her the news. “In the spirit of your late father, with great anticipation, we look forward to your leadership,” he said.

“She is excited, I am excited, and the nation will be excited,” Clay says. King, an internationally known motivational speaker and author, will be the second King offspring to helm the group, following brother Martin Luther King III. But she’ll have a challenge on her hands returning the SCLC, which has been ravaged by infighting and money problems, to its former glory, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes.