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Martin Luther King III to Speak at MLK Memorial Tribute

Martin Luther King III

Martin Luther King III is the son of the legendary Civil Rights leader and a human rights activist in his own right. 

Human rights activist Martin Luther King III, son of the legendary Civil Rights leaders the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, will give the keynote address at the seventh annual MLK Memorial Tribute, hosted by Saint Louis University and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019.

The event is being co-hosted by Ameren Missouri in partnership with SLU and the Urban League.

This year’s tribute will be held in the Wool Ballroom, Busch Student Center, and will begin with breakfast at 8 a.m. The memorial program begins at 9 a.m. Complimentary parking will be available in the University’s Laclede Garage.

MLK speaks at SLU
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at SLU in 1964. SLU photo

Like his parents, King III has dedicated his life to advancing human and civil rights issues in the United States and to community activism. In 1997, he was unanimously elected to head the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SLCL), a prominent civil rights organization founded by his father.

In 2006, King III founded Realizing the Dream, an organization dedicated to eliminating poverty that later became part of The King Center. On April 4, 2008, King and the Rev. Al Sharpton led a march to honor the 40th anniversary of his father’s death. More recently, in 2017, he marched with Sharpton in Washington D.C. as part of the Ministers March for Justice.

In its seven years, the MLK tribute at SLU has drawn an array of distinguished speakers. In 2018, diplomat and noted civil rights champion Ambassador Andrew Young, delivered the tribute’s keynote address. He received the Civil Rights Legends Award.  Young told the crowd, “This country is not going backward.”

A year earlier, Dr. George Fraser, chairman and CEO of FraserNet, Inc., focused on economic empowerment as the only way to achieve true equality, telling those assembled, “You cannot consume yourself into equality and you cannot consume yourself into power. We must engage in entrepreneurship, and we must develop a new kind of consciousness.”

Ambassador Andrew Young

Ambassador Andrew Young presented his Civil Rights Legend Award to students from St. Louis's Marian Middle School at the sixth annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Tribute at SLU's Busch Student Center on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. Photo by Amelia Flood

The events awardees have included Kelvin Adams, Ph.D., superintendent of the St. Louis Public Schools; Natalie DuBose, owner of Natalie’s Cakes and Natalie’s Sweet Success; Judge Glenda Hatchett, Fulton County, Georgia’s first African American Chief Presiding Judge; Marc Morial, president of the national Urban League; and civil rights leader Xernona Clayton, among others.

RSVPs are requested for the event. To reserve a place, register at this link or contact Rita McMillan at rita.mcmillan@slu.edu or 314-977-2254 or Regina Walton at regina.walton@slu.edu or 314-977-4585.


Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers nearly 13,000 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.