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Dothan native and sister-in-law of legendary activist Martin Luther King Jr. dies

DOTHAN, Ala (WDHN) — Naomi Barber King, a civil rights activist married to the younger brother of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., has died.

The family said Naomi King died peacefully in her sleep at her Atlanta home on Thursday. She was 92.

A statement from the King family to the Associated Press read, “She was a woman of quiet dignity, overcoming strength, and steadfast support to her husband, family, and circles of influence within and beyond Atlanta.”

King was born in Dothan on November 17, 1958, to Bessie Bailey, a single mother.

The mother-and-daughter duo later moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where they began attending Ebenezer Baptist Church, led by Martin Luther King Sr. Here, she became friends with the King children, including Martin Luther King Jr. and his youngest brother, Alfred Daniel (A.D.) Williams King.

In 1949, while studying French at Spelman College in Atlanta, Naomi King married A.D. They had five children together.

According to the A.D. King Foundation, the couple supported MLK Jr. during his leadership of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. They were seen at his side in the 1963 March on Washington and the 1965 campaign to vote in Selma, Alabama. A.D. King died in July 1969.

In January 2008, Naomi King received the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Rosa Parks Freedom Award. That same year, in May, she founded the A.D. King Foundation.

To contribute to the memory of her husband and brother-in-law, she published the book “A.D. and ML King: Two Brothers Who Dared to Dream” in 2014.

The A.D. King Foundation described her as an inspiring person dedicated to improving her community and said she was often known as the “Butterfly Queen.”

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