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Nationally and internationally known as one of the most powerful, motivating, and life changing orators and speakers, Bernice A. King leaves her audiences spell bound and challenges people to raise the standard. Born the youngest daughter of Coretta Scott King and the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., King began her oratorical journey when she spoke in her mother’s stead at the United Nations at age 17. Over the years, King has had the occasion to speak in such places as The White House, DuPont Corp., Warner-Lambert Corporation, AT&T, NIKE, USANA Health Sciences, University of Toledo, Xavier University, University of North Carolina, Duke University, Pepperdine University, Department of Defense, Salvation Army, and in such places as Sydney, Australia, Lubeck, Germany, Auckland, New Zealand, and South Africa to name a few. In the summer of 2000, King narrated the “Lincoln Portrait” along with a symphony orchestra in Keil, Germany, at the Schleswig-Holsen Musik Festival. In January 2012, she was appointed by the Board of Trustees as the Chief Executive Officer of The King Center, which was founded by her mother, in 1968.
King is a graduate of Spelman College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a Masters of Divinity and Doctorate of Law degrees from Emory University. On January 30, 2007, the 1st year anniversary of her mother’s death, Bernice returned to her alma-mater at Spelman College to announce the establishment of the “Be A King Scholarship in honor of Coretta Scott King.” She has also received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree from Wesley College. She is currently a member of the State Bar of Georgia.
With a strong concern for community and family partnership, King was privileged to serve as a law clerk in the Fulton County Juvenile Court system, under Judge Glenda Hatchett, where she interacted with troubled boys and girls. It was there that she realized that a growing number of teens have been double victims: first of society and second of an ineffective legal system based in retribution instead of rehabilitation. In keeping with this vision, in 2007, King spoke at the inauguration of the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA). She continues to serve as a mentor for the young ladies at CSKYWLA. In January of 2011, King launched the “100 Days of Nonviolence” campaign at CSKYWLA to expose them to nonviolence as modeled by her father, “Kingian Nonviolence,” challenging these young ladies to combat bullying, fighting, and negative attitudes by using their tongue in a manner that is positive and uplifting.
She later founded Be A King, whose mission is to re-brand and re-image generations of people to elevate the way they Think, Act, Live, and Lead. In September 2007, she launched the first Be A King Summit in Montgomery, Alabama on the campus of Alabama State University. Through Be A King, she hopes to develop a nation of young people who will impact the global marketplace and transform the world culture with a KINGdom mindset.
King has been featured on such shows as Oprah, BET Talk with Tavis Smiley and the Judge Hachett Show to name a few and in such magazines as People Magazine, Ebony, Essence, Ladies Home Journal, Gospel Today and Charisma Magazine. In 2005, the American Legacy Magazine recognized her as a “Woman of Strength and Courage.” She has also guest hosted a live lunchtime television show on CNN. In April 2008, King was one of the fifteen delegates selected to meet Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the United States. She also received the “2009 Lifetime Achievement Advocate Award” from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc.
King’s book, Hard Questions, Heart Answers, is a compelling and inspiring piece selected by USA Today as a “Best Bet.”
Continuing her parent’s legacy, King spearheaded the global events that took place in Washington, DC to commemorate the August 28, 2013, 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and her father’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. This global event included President Obama, and former Presidents Clinton and Carter, as well as many other international leaders, dignitaries and entertainers. Additionally, in the spirit of her father, she was an instrumental factor in helping Aboriginals and others in Vancouver, Canada understand the importance of forgiveness, unconditional love, and reconciliation, when she spoke to a crowd of over 75,000 people in 2013.
Creative, captivating, challenging, compelling and courageous are a few words that describe King, a woman gifted to change the lives of those who come into contact with her.
Hard Questions, Heart Answers
Throughout her life and career, Dr. Bernice King has always been asked hard questions—about her father and mother, her work, and her future. Playing off of her book, Hard Questions, Heart Answers, this talk shares with audiences Dr King’s, just like her father’s, rare gift for oratory and the wisdom and compassion to inspire others. Tackling such controversial subjects as our disaffected youth, gun control, and the death penalty, King paints a compelling picture of the spiritual decay and deep-seated racism that infects our society. King also shares her belief in the power of faith to restore our communities, morally and spiritually, and hopes this messaging rings forth in day to day life. The church, she asserts, must return to its helping and healing mission, and each of us, looking into our hearts, must put aside our differences and remember that each human life is precious.
My Personal Journey and Continuing a Legacy
Bernice shares her incredible story, covering everything from her ministry and legal work to her current role as CEO of The King Center and her mission to continue her parents' legacy.
The King Center: Its History and Its Future
A not-for-profit organization founded by Corretta Scott King in 1968, The King Center is dedicated to research, education, and training in the principles, philosophy, and methods of Kingian nonviolence. In this speech, Bernice explains how she used her role as CEO to introduce a variety of programs and initiatives to the Center, as well as how she plans to continue ushering the organization into a new era.
To Whom Much is Given, Much is Expected
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