Alberta Christine King

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Alberta Christine King (Williams)

Also Known As: "Bunch"
Birthdate: (69)
Birthplace: Atlanta, GA, USA
Death: Died in Atlanta, GA, USA
Cause of death: Gun shot
Place of Burial: Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Rev. Adam Daniel Williams and Jenny Celeste Williams
Wife of Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr.
Mother of <private> Farris (King); Martin Luther King, Jr. and Alfred Daniel Williams

Managed by: Julie Scott Russell
Last Updated:

About Alberta Christine King

Alberta Christine Williams King (September 13, 1904 – June 30, 1974) was Martin Luther King, Jr.'s mother and the wife of Martin Luther King, Sr. She played a significant role in the affairs of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her father, husband and son all served as pastor. She was shot and killed in the church six years after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Alberta Christine Williams was born on September 13, 1904, the only daughter of Reverend Adam Daniel Williams, who was then the pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and Jenny Celeste Parks.[1] Williams attended high school at Spelman Seminary and obtained a teaching certificate at the Hampton Normal and Industrial Institute (now Hampton University) in 1924.

Alberta Williams met Martin L. King (then known as Michael), whose sister Woodie was boarding with her parents, shortly before leaving for Hampton. After returning from college, she announced her engagement to King at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. She worked for a short period as a teacher before the marriage on Thanksgiving Day in 1926. As female teachers were then not allowed to work while they were married, she had to give up her job as a teacher.

After the wedding, the Kings moved in with her parents. Their first child, a daughter Willie Christine King, was born on September 11, 1927. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 while their third child Alfred Daniel Williams King was born on July 30, 1930 and named after his Grandfather. During this period, Michael King changed his name to Martin Luther King, Sr.

Alberta King worked hard to instill self-respect into her three children. In an essay written at Crozer Seminary, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote that his mother "was behind the scenes setting forth those motherly cares, the lack of which leaves a missing link in life." Martin Luther King Jr. was close to his mother throughout his life.

Alberta King's mother Jennie Williams died on May 18, 1941 of a heart attack. Martin Luther King, Jr. was so upset over his grandmother's death that he jumped from the second floor of the house. The Kings later moved to a larger yellow brick house three blocks away. Alberta King would also serve as the organizer and president of the Ebenezer Women's Committee between 1950 and 1962. By the end of this period, Martin Luther King Sr. and Jr. were joint pastors of the church.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated by a concealed gunman on April 4, 1968 while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. Dr. King was in Memphis to lead a march in support of the local sanitation workers union. He was pronounced dead one hour later. Mrs. King was a source of strength after her son's assassination. Her younger son, Alfred Daniel Williams King, drowned in his own pool after having become the assistant pastor at the Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Alberta King was shot and killed on June 30, 1974 by 23 year-old Marcus Wayne Chenault as she sat at the organ of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Chenault was a deranged gunman from Ohio who stated that he shot King because "all Christians are my enemies."


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Alberta Christine King's Timeline

September 13, 1904
Atlanta, GA, USA
January 15, 1929
Age 24
Atlanta, GA, USA
July 30, 1930
Age 25
Atlanta, GA, USA
June 30, 1974
Age 69
Atlanta, GA, USA
Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia, USA