ATLANTA (WAOK/AP) – The youngest daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has been appointed chief executive officer of the center dedicated to preserving and promoting his legacy.

The Rev. Bernice A. King will focus on external affairs on behalf of The King Center, which was founded by her mother, Coretta Scott King, shortly after the civil rights icon was assassinated in 1968. Her elder brother, Martin Luther King III, will remain president, and their brother, Dexter, will continue to serve as board chairman.

Last year, 48-year-old Bernice King left her role as an elder and pastor at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, and declined to take office as the first woman president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the venerable civil rights organization co-founded by her father in 1957.

King Week activities are underway in Atlanta, highlighted by the annual ‘Salute to Greatness Awards Dinner’ on Saturday, January 14th at 6:30 p.m. at Atlanta’s Hyatt Regency Hotel Centennial Ballroom and the Annual Commemorative Service held on Monday, January 16th, at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church on Auburn Avenue.

The Salute to Greatness Dinner will honor Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn and Partner of Greylock Partners and Sheila C. Johnson, founder and C.E.O. of Salamander Hotels and Resorts, vice chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment and president of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. The annual King Commemorative Service will feature as keynote speaker one of America’s most dynamic orators, Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III, Senior Pastor of Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. Members of the King family and a host of elected officials and public figures will also participate in the service.

WAOK will simulcast the King Commemorative Service on Monday beginning at 10 am.


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