MLK’s Daughter, Bernice King, Opens Up About Growing Up Surrounded By Tragedy: ‘I Went Through Some Seasons Of Having A Lot Of Anger’

by Gee NY
Bernice King

On June 8, Bernice King, the youngest daughter of the iconic Martin Luther King Jr., addressed hundreds of women at a conference, sharing intimate details about her tumultuous upbringing and her emotional struggles.

At the Black Girls Dream Conference, Bernice candidly spoke about her childhood as a shy, curious girl who endured significant loss, which often led to bouts of intense anger.

“I went through some seasons of having a lot of anger because of all the loss I had in my life,” she revealed.

She discussed how her anger was self-destructive and her journey towards understanding and managing these emotions.

Growing up in a family of extraordinary leaders, Bernice was imbued with faith, strength, and a keen awareness of her potential. She praised her mother, Coretta Scott King, as a powerful woman whose support was crucial to Martin Luther King Jr.’s success.

“She was a powerful woman in her own right before she met him,” Bernice stated, highlighting the significant role of the Black women around her who helped guide her through life’s challenges.

The peace advocate urged the conference attendees to master and discipline their emotions, sharing an invaluable lesson from her mother: never decide while angry.

She said it was important to include God in life’s decisions, stating:

“When you’re making decisions in life, don’t leave out God…You need Him as a partner.”

She also encouraged the women to find their purpose by identifying problems they can solve and standing firm in their convictions.

Reflecting on her experiences, Bernice sees herself as a role model for dignity and nonviolence.

“I’m obviously a student of my father’s nonviolence,” she said, noting that nonviolence is “a spiritual thing and a mindset, transcending the physical realm.”

The conference, hosted for the fourth year by the Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium, gathered over 1,300 girls and women in Atlanta for a weekend of inspiration and empowerment focused on Afrofuturism.

The 2024 event aimed to inspire attendees to dream bigger through workshops, discussions, and resources for turning those dreams into reality.

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