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.