Fifty years ago – the year 1986 – was arguably the most tumultuous year in a very turbulent decade in America.
In 1968, the nation witnessed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — with subsequent deadly riots erupting in over 100 U.S. cities. Just two months later, Americans recoiled in abject horror yet again at the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, the younger brother of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated himself just five years prior.
A few months after the latter tragedy, police in riot gear with billy clubs beat down hundreds of young white anti-Vietnam protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The nation appeared on the verge of collapsing in on itself. Revolution seemed inevitable.
Lost in all of this upheaval and toxic ethnic strife was undeniably one of the most important figures of the entire Civil Rights Movement: Alfred Daniel “A.D.” Williams King, MLK’s lone brother.
Many people didn’t know that Dr. King even had a brother, much less one who was absolutely indispensable to the success of the campaign for equality. His life, and more importantly his highly conspicuous and questionable death on June 20, 1969, less than a year after Martin Luther King’s murder, has been shrouded in mystery and highly questionable circumstances for the past five decades.
Until now. The documentary, “Unsolved History: The Life of a King,” hosted by noted journalist Ed Gordon, finally goes in depth to illuminate the remarkable contributions of this unsung hero as well as give clues into his controversial and unsolved death.
Thanks to executive producer Josetta Shropshire-Howard and Alvetta King, the niece of MLK and daughter of A.D. King, the nation will learn just much A.D. King helped his more celebrated brother, Martin L. King Jr., fight racism in America and was in the room below King when he was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel at age 39 on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn., 50 years ago.
“Unsolved History: Life of A King” dissects the unanswered questions and mystery surrounding A.D. King’s so-called accidental drowning just fifteen months after his brother Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered.
Alvetta King was joined by Dr. King’s surviving sister, Christine King Farris, MLK’s youngest child Rev. Dr. Bernice King, actor Clifton Powell, Atlanta City Councilwoman Felicia Moore and others for a screening of the documentary, hosted Sun., March 25 at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Center on iconic Auburn Avenue.
Alvetta King said at the “Life of a King” screening that her very spiritual upbringing helped her overcome the string of unspeakable tragedies in the King family, including her father’s, that is nearly as numerous as the Kennedys, the family most closely linked to the Kings historically.
“The King family legacy is faith, hope, and love,” she said. “Today there is so much fighting and dissension in the world. The age-old battle of skin color racism is still happening today.
“The Agape love of God embraces everyone from conception, to the womb, to the tomb…We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools,” she said, invoking the famous words of her late, legendary uncle.
Shropshire-Howard, CEO of Positive Promotions Ltd, said this project was the culmination of a vision Howard began working on 11 years ago to tell the poignant, powerful and untold story of Rev. A.D. King.
“Most people don’t even realize that Dr. King even had a brother, let alone a brother who marched with him, who stayed with him, who lived with him and died with him,” she said of A.D. King, who died at his home only 15 months after MLK’s assassination. “So there’s a huge story here, and it’s been largely overlooked. And we’re happy to tell the story today.”
Co-Productions teams for “Unsolved History: Life of A King” included Sunwise Media and Positive Promotions Ltd.