Anti-abortion priest joins MLK observance

by W. Winston Skinner

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, spent Monday in Georgia — observing the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday with Dr. Alveda King and other members of the King family.

Alveda King is the niece of Martin Luther King Jr. and the daughter of Alfred Daniel Williams King, the slain Civil Rights leader’s brother. A.D. King was once pastor of Mt. Vernon First Baptist Church in Newnan.

“Father Pavone has been honoring the legacy of the late Civil Rights leader with the King family for more than a decade,” according to Leslie Palma-Simoncek, communications director for Priests for Life.

“It’s been my honor to spend this time with the King family and to be part of the historic celebrations that annually mark the birth of America’s pre-eminent civil rights leader,” Pavone said.

He said the proximity of the holiday with the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade abortion decision serves as a reminder that when talking about the "unfinished business" of fulfilling the dream of Dr. King.

Palma-Simoncek said Pavone views “restoring the right to life to the children in the womb, and ending the violence of abortion” as the top priority.

Alveda King is the full-time director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life. She said plans were for Pavone to join her family in the pulpit area of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the King family’s longtime church home.

“We are reminded that with abortion, we still have much to overcome. We still need civil rights for the babies,” she said.

While he was in Atlanta, Pavone preached on Sunday at Bible Believers Church and attended the Salute to Greatness Dinner on Saturday night at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta.

Priests for Life has its headquarters in Staten Island, N.Y.

Alveda King is a former college professor and holds a master of arts degree in business management. She is the author of “Sons of Thunder,” “The King Family Legacy” and “I Don't Want Your Man, I Want My Own.”

She has served on the boards and committees of Coalition of African American Pastors, and the Judeo-Christian Coalition for Constitutional Restoration. From 1979-1981, Alveda King served in the Georgia State House of Representatives and she later ran for a Congressional post.

A.D. King became pastor of Mt. Vernon First Baptist Church in 1959. Mt. Vernon was the first pastorate for the recent Morehouse graduate, and his older brother preached a revival at Mt. Vernon during the time A.D. King was a pastor in Newnan.

A.D. King pastored churches in Birmingham, Ala., and Louisville, Ky., before returning to historic Ebenezer Baptist, where he was co-pastor with his father after the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. The co-pastorate at the historic Atlanta church lasted only about a year.

A.D. King, an accomplished swimmer, died July 21, 1969, in what was officially deemed a drowning accident. His death — like that of his brother — has been the subject of controversy over the years.

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