MLK’s Mother Was Brutally Assassinated Too, But Here’s Why Many Don’t Know About It

Posted On : November 16, 2017

(L-R) Alberta Williams King, her son Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., MK Jr.’s wife Coretta Scott King during MLK’s conference at the hospital after being stabbed in 1958 (Getty)

It’s been 44 years since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s beautiful mother, Alberta Williams King, was assassinated, yet the murder of the mother of a man largely responsible for changing America, still goes unnoticed. There are several reasons for that, which we’ll get to in a minute, but first, here are the details of what happened to Mrs. King…

Details Of Mrs. Alberta King’s Murder

On June 30, 1974, Alberta King was killed at 69 years young. It was a Sunday and she was at their infamous Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., which was pastored by her husband, Rev. Martin Luther King Sr.. Mrs. King was the church’s organist and that day she was excited about playing the new organ they’d just gotten. About 500 people were in attendance for Sunday’s service and the short man, wearing a tan suit and thick glasses, went unnoticed as he walked in and blended with the congregation. King Sr. wasn’t at the church that day. As Mrs. King began playing “The Lord’s Prayer” on their new organ, the congregation bowed their heads in prayer. That’s when Marcus Wayne Chenault, Jr. struck.

Chenault, Jr. a then 23 year old Ohio State dropout, did something eerily reminiscent of the scene from the Malcolm X movie, when one of X’s murderers yelled “Get yo hands out of my pocket” before killing him. Chenault Jr. stood up and yelled “I’m taking over here!…I’m tired of all this!” Then he ran to the pulpit, pulled out two pistols, and fired at Mrs. King until the clips were emptied. Mrs. King and a deacon, Edward Boykin, were killed, while another member was shot, but survived. The New York Times reported that Chenault “told the police that his mission was to kill the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., but he shot Mrs. King instead because she was close to him.”

Was There A Bigger Plot?

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Years ago, when I first learned about Alberta King’s death and the subsequent lack of coverage it gets, my initial assumption was that it was some type of government ordered hit. Yeah that’s a harsh assumption, but given the era she was killed and who she is, it’s not a far fetched assumption. Just 6 years prior in 1968, Mrs. King’s son, MLK Jr., was assassinated and the very next year, her other son, Rev. A.D. King – who was also a civil rights activist- mysteriously drowned in a pool…even though he was a highly skilled swimmer. His wife and father publicly stated they suspected that the “system” murdered him. So yeah, it wasn’t a far fetched assumption to think Mrs. Alberta King was the victim of a bigger plot. However…

Her Killer’s Claims

Marcus Chenault, Jr. was diagnosed as mentally ill. Despite his lawyer pleading insanity, he was charged with murder and sentenced to death. During his arraignment in court, Chenault blamed his murderous actions on a split personality- a “Hebrew” he called “Servant Jacob.” When asked about the shooting, Chenault said “I’m a Hebrew and was sent here on a mission and it’s partially accomplished.” When Mrs. King’s husband, Martin Luther King, Sr., asked Chenault why he killed her, he replied: “Because she was a Christian and all Christians are my enemies.” Chenault also claimed that months prior to the shooting, he’d determined that “Black ministers were a menace to black people and must be killed.”

Why Mrs. King’s Assassination Goes Unnoticed?

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One reason Alberta King’s murder isn’t widely known, could be a reflection of the life she led. You see, she was a wonderful mother and wife, but a very soft spoken and shy woman. Although she was a strong pillar within the powerful King family, Mrs. King preferred to remain in the background. Her son, Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, in one of his essays, that his mother was always by his side throughout his grueling civil rights fight, “behind the scene, setting forth those motherly cares, the lack of which leaves a missing link in life.” Reverend L.V. Booth stated, at Mrs. King’s funeral, that she “sounded no trumpets to call attention to her greatness.” Her legacy has been overshadowed by the powerful men in her life and that is something that Mrs. King didn’t mind at all.

King Family Saved Life Of Mrs. King’s Killer

It was because of the King family, that Chenault Jr.’s life was spared. The Kings are firmly against the death penalty, so they pushed to have his death sentence tossed, in exchange for life in prison. On August 22, 1995, Chenault died at age 44 after suffering a stroke in prison.

King Sr.’s Vow To Wife At Funeral

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After losing two sons and his wife, King Sr. was exhausted and in extreme pain, but determined to remain strong for his deceased family. At his wife’s funeral, Rev. King Sr. made a vow to Mrs. King -whom affectionately called “Bunch.” “I’m not gonna quit and I’m not gonna be stopped. … We’ve got to carry on,” King Sr. said, referring to the civil rights fight his sons fought. Then, he gazed at his wife’s white casket and softly added, “So, Bunch, I’m coming on up home. I’ll be home almost any time now,” assuming that he, too, would soon be murdered, due to his vow to keep fighting for equal rights. Martin Luther King Sr. passed away from a heart attack on November 11, 1984, at age 84.

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