By Anne Marie Amacher
Pro-life advocate Alveda King spoke on “One King, One Dream, One Future” during a fundraiser for the Women’s Choice Center on Oct. 3 at the River Center in downtown Davenport. More than 300 people attended the event, which was underwritten by an anonymous couple.
King, 62, is the niece of Martin Luther King Jr. and daughter of the Rev. A.D. King. She lives in Atlanta and is the mother of six and a grandmother.
During an interview at the Women’s Choice Center in Bettendorf earlier in the day, King said she was conceived out of wedlock. “My mom and dad were engaged. She planned to marry my dad after she went to college.”
Her mom thought about having an abortion, which was not legal at that time, and talked with her father, Martin Luther King Sr., about it. “My grandfather told my mom she couldn’t abort her baby. He had seen her baby in a dream three years before, and she was going to be a blessing.”
King’s parents got married and she was the first of five children to be born to the couple.
King herself had two abortions, which she said she was coerced into by her doctor. She contemplated a third abortion. “I was pro-choice for a while. My grandfather and grandmother, my mom and dad, and my uncle were pro-life.”
In 1983 King said she was “born again” and gradually became a voice for life. “I make a progression to the pro-life stance.”
She began speaking at right-to-life events. In the 1990s King met Father Frank Pavone, founder of Priests for Life. She joined Fr. Pavone’s organization and is pastoral associate and director of the African American Outreach at Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. She also stands up for the Silent No More awareness campaign aimed at women who have had abortions.
Today she travels across the country speaking to pro-life groups, to African American leaders and to various denominations about the pro-life cause. She also is an author.
“My job is to encourage the pro-life community and to educate the broader community on issues of life.”
Her birthday, Jan. 22, coincides with the anniversary day of the legalization of abortion in the United States.
King has participated in several March for Life walks held each January in Washington, D.C. The last time she marched outdoors with other pro-life supporters was in 2011. As she gets older, she said it’s getting more difficult to walk and it’s too cold for her.
But she said she feels uplifted by youths and young adults who march each year, and her smile grew wider talking about their involvement. Their participation rate grows each year.
Vicki Tyler, executive director of the Women’s Choice Center, said members of the Life and Family Coalition that oversees the center prayed hard to find a speaker for this first fundraiser. “We really wanted to reach out to the African American community. Who was out there? We were very blessed and fortunate that Dr. King accepted our invitation.”
King spoke at the fundraiser about the historical legacy of the King family. As her father, uncle and grandfather fought for the civil rights of African Americans, she continues the fight — for the unborn.
King emphasized the fact that there is one human race and every member is joined together. She hopes that people continue to grow in the pro-life movement and that abortion will be abolished.
“She did a masterful job in gathering the pro-life community and letting them know they are not alone,” Tyler said. “She spoke from the heart.”
Attendees at the fundraiser were asked to donate to the pro-life center. The Women’s Choice Center hoped for monthly pledges to the center, but one-time gifts also were accepted. “We are still tallying what was raised,” Tyler said.