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Home Our History Buying Black Dr. King Had A Little Brother, He Also Died Under Mysterious Circumstances

Dr. King Had A Little Brother, He Also Died Under Mysterious Circumstances

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He was a Morehouse graduate, a preacher and civil rights leader. His home was once bombed because of his commitment to justice and his death is still somewhat of a mystery. This bio reads like that of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. but in fact, it refers to the Rev. A.D. King. On April 4, 1968 Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis. He was a guest in room 306 at the Lorraine Motel. In the room directly under him was another guest, Rev. A.D. King. History remembers MLK well but with him every step of the way was the Rev. A.D. King.

In 1968 the Fair Housing Act was signed into law by President Johnson. That law was largely modeled after Kentucky’s open housing ordinance, the culmination of a movement pushed by the Kentucky Christian Leadership conference: it was founded by A.D. King, who also served as chairman from 1965 until 1968. Prior to that he pastored in Birmingham and was a leader in the Birmingham movement, serving alongside of his brother. In fact, A.D. was one of a small handful of preachers who went to jail in Birmingham, along with his brother. Dr. King’s famous Letter from Birmingham Jail was penned on April 16, 1963. On the 11th of May, A.D. King’s home was bombed and still, he led a prayer march into the heart of Birmingham, days later. A.D. King didn’t scare.

When Dr. King was assassinated in April of 1968, he was working on a sermon titled, “Why America May Go To Hell.” King was killed on a Thursday but the sermon was still preached that following Sunday at Ebenezer Baptist Church, in Atlanta. The preacher that day was dynamic and his name was Rev. A.D King. In September of that year, A.D. was installed as co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist. The homecoming wouldn’t last long, however. On July 21 of the following year, nine days before his birthday, A.D. King’s son, Derek, saw a body in the family swimming pool. That body was the Rev. A.D. King, who was in his underwear. By all accounts A.D. was a fantastic swimmer, something must have gone horribly wrong.

According to Derek, the emergency responders said upon arrival, “Ain’t no water in his lungs, he was dead before he hit the water.” King’s wife, Naomi, was on vacation at the time. When she came back to see the body, she noticed bruises on his forehead and dark rings around his neck. Officially, A.D. King’s death was ruled a suicide but the family has never been convinced. In fact, A.D. King’s autopsy was never made available. As Naomi King has said, “There is no doubt in my mind that the system killed my beloved husband, the Rev. A.D. Williams King.”

A.D. King’s work and legacy lives on through the A.D. King Foundation, which was launched by Naomi King. Dr. Babs Onabanjo leads the foundation today and has produced a documentary on the life of the Rev. A.D. King, which can be seen by clicking here. A.D. and Naomi had five children, Derek and Alveda King still remain today.

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D'Juan Hopewell
I care about Black Power. Period. Currently working on creating jobs and funding new startups on the South Side of Chicago and writing here and there at HopewellThought.com. Follow me @HopewellThought.
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37 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the knowledge. We must continue to learn about our own history not taught to us. Each one teach one. Thank you for sharing. I didn’t know about A.D. King

  2. This is importantninformation. As others have commented i never knew that MLK had a brother who was also a civil rights leader and more importantly, whose life was murdered by white folks in high places.

  3. Mrs. Naomi Ruth Barber King wants you to know that the system that killed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. also eliminated The Rev. A. D. Williams King. Make no mistakes about it and know that the struggle for freedom/justice is ever ending and must be sustained by every generation, therefore, the civil rights movement is still relevant today. For more information visit and support http://www.adkingfoundation.com

  4. It is dangerous to have selective history tellers. It leads to emotional blindness and self loathing. It is amazing how history had chosen to bury MLK’s brother like he never was in existence. Thank you for widening my lenses to see a bigger picture.

  5. Dr. King is a great man and truth be told he is one of our greatest leader but the truth may never be known, but what is certain is that A.D. King played a vital role in the civil rights movement, that of lieutenant to his brother, and a trusted soldier in the struggle for equality. No one can unveil the mystery behind the families death. As Martin Luther King Jr will say “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

  6. Wow wow!😖…I’m so upset that i didn’t know this..
    Thank you for sharing! GREAT DOCUMENTARY 👈RIP AD
    POWER TO THE PEOPLE!✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾

  7. I knew Dr. King had a brother and I knew but firgotten that he died under mysterious circumstances. Thank you for letting us know or reminding a few of us.

  8. There are millions of African American unsung heroes.
    Thank you for this reminder.

    The members of the King family have suffered severely in their quest to make life better for us. We owe them; and, we should do more to support them.

  9. He is a man of dignity and peaceful legacy.
    We must stand with them and for them not in a time like this alone but in all their struggle for the black race at large.

  10. Why have so many important facts about our history been omitted? Thank you for sharing this little known information. We must make sure the coming generations know the real truths, whole truths…God Bless the King Family for all there endeavors.

    • Facts of “our” history have been suppressed/omitted from the beginning, to this day. This has had the (desired) effect of controlling those who would object, revise and amend our history with reform. To withhold information is to control.

  11. Thanks for information about AD king l had no knowledge of him l knew dr king had a brother but did not know how important he was also.

  12. Praise God to bless the King family with 2 men of God. They taught, they lead, they prayed, they fought for our civil rights, against so much social injustice at a time of social unrest and racism. They believed in nonviolence and they both gave their lives for us. This journey is not over, they along with many other didn’t die invane . The fiight continues! Rest in Paradise, Brothers in heaven!(REV. MLK AND REV. AD KING)

  13. This is great information, I am glad this information was told about the Legacy of A. D. King, who serve beside his brother Dr. Martin Luther King jr. We need not to forget those that was a service to this great cause. Continue to spread this around the world,where the people will know, Martin Luther King brother also died for equal rights.

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