In a heartbreaking announcement, the King Center revealed that Dexter Scott King, the youngest son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, passed away at the age of 62 on January 22. The cause was a courageous battle with prostate cancer, as shared by his wife, Leah Weber King, his best friend and strongest supporter.
Leah expressed, “He transitioned peacefully in his sleep at home with me in Malibu. He gave it everything and battled this terrible disease until the end. As with all the challenges in his life, he faced this hurdle with bravery and might.”
Dexter, born in Atlanta on January 30, 1961, carried the namesake of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, where his father began his pastoral journey. Losing his father at the tender age of seven when Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, Dexter grew up in the embrace of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, his grandfather’s pastoral domain. He attended Frederick Douglas High School and followed his father’s footsteps to Morehouse College, dedicating his life to preserving and protecting his father’s legacy.
Known for his humility regarding his uncanny resemblance to his father, Dexter portrayed Dr. King in the 2002 television movie “The Rosa Parks Story.” Initially drawn to California for a career in acting, he chose to balance his love for the arts with his responsibilities to the King family legacy. In 2013, he married Leah Weber, creating a life of love and support reminiscent of his parents.
Dexter’s commitment to his father’s work led him to become well-versed in intellectual property law. At the time of his passing, he served as Chairman of The King Center and President of the King Estate, safeguarding the intellectual property left behind by his father. Dexter’s dedication and resilience mirrored the bravery his father exhibited in the face of adversity.
The shock of Dexter’s sudden departure reverberated across Atlanta and the world. Council member Michael Julian Bond, who grew up with Dexter, struggled to come to terms with the news. “Very sad. I’m very shocked by it. We knew he had a health challenge but did not know it was serious as it turned out to be,” Bond shared, reflecting on their childhood spent playing together.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens expressed condolences, acknowledging Dexter’s roles as a Morehouse Man, humanitarian, civil rights activist, and actor. The Atlanta City Council and organizations like the Georgia NAACP and the Atlanta NAACP honored Dexter’s contributions to the ongoing struggle for equality and justice. Rep. Carl Gillard of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus offered condolences, asking for prayers for the King family.
Dexter’s passing leaves a void not only in the King family but also in the broader community that benefited from his passion for justice and equality. As we remember Dexter Scott King, let us draw inspiration from his legacy and rededicate ourselves to the principles he championed.
In the spirit of honoring Dexter’s memory, it is crucial to reflect on his dedication to social justice, civil rights, and community development. The Georgia NAACP and the Atlanta NAACP stand in solidarity with those mourning Dexter Scott King’s passing, offering support during this challenging time. May his contributions to the civil rights movement serve as a beacon of hope for future generations.
As the King family requests privacy during this difficult time, the world reflects on Dexter’s remarkable life. A memorial service will be announced at a later date, allowing friends, family, and admirers to come together and celebrate the enduring legacy of Dexter Scott King.
In the words of his sister, Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King, “words cannot express the heartbreak I feel from losing another sibling. I’m praying for strength to get through this very difficult time.” Dexter’s sudden departure may be devastating, but his impact on the world will endure through the principles of love, justice, and equality that he tirelessly championed.