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 Alberta Christine “Mama King” <I>Williams</I> King

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Alberta Christine “Mama King” Williams King

  • Birth 13 Sep 1904 Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia, USA
  • Death 30 Jun 1974 Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia, USA
  • Burial Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia, USA
  • Plot Next to First Road paralleling Jonesboro Road
  • Memorial ID 9796

Mother of assassinated civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., school teacher, music director for many years at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and the church's organist from 1932-1972. Alberta Christine Williams King was the only child born to the Rev. Adam Daniel Williams and Jennie Williams in Atlanta, Georgia on September 13, 1904. Alberta received her education in Atlanta and attended high school at Spelman Seminary (now Spelman College). She then enrolled in Hampton Normal and Industrial Institute (now Hampton University), where she obtained her teaching certificate in March of 1924. Before attending Hampton, she met a young minister named Michael King (later Martin Luther King, Sr.) whom described Alberta as being "poised, gentle, an accomplished musician, scholarly." Shortly after completing school the couple announced their engagement at Ebenezer. Because the local school board at the time did not allow married women in the classroom, King taught only briefly before her marriage at Ebenezer on Thanksgiving Day 1926. After their wedding, the newlyweds moved into an upstairs bedroom of the Williams' home on Auburn Avenue, where Martin Luther King, Jr. and his two siblings, Christine and Alfred Daniel (A.D.), were born. After Rev. A.D. Williams sudden death in the spring of 1931, King, Sr. who had been assistant pastor succeeded his father-in-law as Ebenezer's pastor and changed his name to Martin Luther King. As a pastors wife Alberta (called "Bunch" by her husband) followed in her mother's footsteps as a powerful presence in Ebenezer's affairs. Along with being longtime church organist, she founded and trained the Ebenezer choir and served as organizer and president of the Ebenezer Woman's Council fro! m 1950 to 1962. As a mother, Alberta worked diligently to instill a sense of self-respect within her three children. Martin Luther King, Jr. acknowledged his mother's positive influence on his life and moral development, deeming her "the best mother in the world." In a piece he wrote as a student at Crozier Seminary, he described his mother as being "behind the scene setting forth those motherly cares, the lack of which leaves a missiing link in life." Alberta remained close to King, Jr. throughout her life. Although her soft-spoken nature compelled her to avoid the publicity that accompanied her son's international renown, she remained a constant source of strength to the King family, especially after King, Jr. was assassinated. On June 30, 1974, as Alberta played "The Lord's Prayer" during Sunday services at Ebenezer, she was shot along with a deacon of the church by a mentally deranged Marcus Chenault, a twenty-one-year old man from Ohio who claimed that "all Christians are my enemies." Alberta Williams King died later that day at the age of 69. Forty-seven years of sharing, loving, discovering, burying, ended and the family again endured the ordeal of saying goodbye to one whom they had loved dearly. Her death was a shock to the congregation, Atlanta, and others across the nation. Years later Ebenezer dedicated it's new pipe organ in their new sanctuary across the street in honor for her passion for beautiful worship music.

Bio by: Curtis Jackson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 4 Jun 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9796
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Alberta Christine “Mama King” Williams King (13 Sep 1904–30 Jun 1974), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9796, citing South View Cemetery, Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .