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Walking in the Footsteps of a Giant

Martin Luther King III carries on his father's legacy

Q: Who today, in your estimation, carries on Dr. King's legacy as a moral crusader?

A: There is no one leader. There are people of conscience all over the world, famous leaders, as well as unsung heroes and "sheroes," who are carrying forward the nonviolent movement for freedom and human rights. Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma comes to mind as an outstanding example, along with the courageous nonviolent protesters and organizers in Egypt and Bosnia and many other places.

Q: Do you see any parallels between President Obama and your father?

A: President Obama certainly has an impressive gift for eloquence, and he has a global vision, as did my father. He doesn't rattle easy, and he doesn't harbor animosity, which were also characteristics my father had. But my father's arena was far broader than politics.

Q: Most people remember Dr. King as a civil rights pioneer and a spectacular speechmaker. How do you remember him?

A: I remember him as my dad, a man who loved his family and made an extra effort to give us quality time, when he was home. I think he realized that his children needed a little extra attention from him, since his work was dangerous and took him on many travels. So he was always fun to be with.

Q: How much time did you get to spend with him at home?

A: Quite a bit. When he was there, my brother, Dexter, and sisters, Yolanda and Bernice, kept him pretty busy. We even bugged him when he tried to catch a little nap, something I am now experiencing with my daughter. He would play games and enjoy sports with us. He also took my brother and me on a couple of the movement campaigns so we could have a sense of what he was doing.

Q: It was recently announced that you're a cofounder of Bounce TV, a new broadcast TV network for African Americans. What type of programming will Bounce offer when it debuts in September?

A: We want to showcase the best of African American culture to the widest possible audience. Bounce TV will carry a wide range of programs, drawing from the arts, drama, music, sports and current events.

Q: You're also an executive producer on an MLK biopic that DreamWorks and Warner Bros. is developing for the big screen. Where are you with that project?

A: I've seen parts of the script. It's very much a work in progress, and I have high hopes that it will inspire the younger generation to study and emulate my father's example and teachings.

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to see done to honor your father?

A: The greatest honor is yet to come — the fulfillment of his dream and the creation of the beloved community, a worthy challenge for us all and for the coming generations.

Also of interest: AARP's Black Community page. »

Craigh Barboza is a writer in Washington, D.C., and the editor of

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