Rev. Bernice King, daughter of of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said she will not become the president of the Atlanta-based Southern Christian Leadership Conference on Friday.
King was elected head of the organization more than a year ago, but never assumed the title during a series of legal battles that divided the group in half.
“After numerous attempts to connect with the official Board leaders on how to move forward under my leadership, unfortunately, our visions did not align. Therefore, after praying mightily and seeking wise counsel, I have decided not to assume the presidency of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,” King said.”I envisioned SCLC emerging as the vanguard for next-generation nonviolent activism in the tradition of my father. Amidst the turmoil, chaos and confusion surrounding SCLC over the last 15 months, my team and I dedicated an exhaustive amount of time, energy and resources to assess the organization and prepare for my transition,” King added.
King said she will continue to build on her mother’s legacy and other ministry initiatives.A judge ruled in September against board members of the SCLC who formed a breakaway faction with the group’s embattled treasurer and chairman.The ruling from Fulton County Superior Court Judge Alford Dempsey placed control of the group with the faction siding with King.The SCLC was co-founded by King’s father, Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, Joseph Lowery and others in 1957 and was a leading force in the civil rights struggle of the 1960s.In the fall of 2009, federal and local authorities launched an investigation of allegations that the SCLC chairman and treasurer mismanaged at least $569,000 of the group’s money. The two denied the allegations and have continued to challenge their dismissal by some board members.Just this week the former national chairman of the SCLC was indicted in Ohio on 51 charges that include grand theft, forgery and tampering with government records. Rev. Raleigh Trammel pleaded not guilty to the charges and was ordered to electronically monitored home confinement.