Christine King Farris

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Christine King Farris
Willie Christine King

(1927-09-11) September 11, 1927 (age 92)
EducationSpelman College (BA)
Columbia University (MA, MA)
Known forCivil rights, teaching, public service
Newton Farris, Sr.
(m. 1960; died 2017)
Children2, including Isaac Newton Farris Jr.
RelativesMartin Luther King, Jr. (brother)
A.D. King (brother)

Willie Christine King Farris (née King; born September 11, 1927) is the eldest and only living sibling of Martin Luther King Jr. She taught at Spelman College and is the author of several books and a public speaker on various topics, including the King family, multicultural education, and teaching.


Farris was, for many years, Vice Chair and Treasurer of the King Center and had been active for several years in the International Reading Association, and various church and civic organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She held a tenure professorship at Spelman College for 48 years before retiring in 2014.


She is the first child of Reverend Martin Luther King Sr. (December 19, 1899 – November 11, 1984) and Alberta Christine Williams King (September 13, 1904 – June 30, 1974), and is the elder sister of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and A. D. King. The three siblings spent their early years in the home of their grandfather, Adam Daniel Williams, who died on March 21, 1931. She married Issac Newton Farris Sr.(1934–2017) on August 19, 1960. They have two children: Issac Newton Farris Jr. (born April 13, 1962), and Angela Christine Farris Watkins (born May 29, 1964). She has a granddaughter from her daughter Angela, Farris Christine Watkins (born January 22, 1997).

Family tragedies[edit]

Farris has endured one brother being murdered in 1968, the drowning of another brother, A. D., in 1969, and the murder of her mother in 1974. Farris has not returned to Memphis, Tennessee, since traveling there after her brother's assassination to retrieve his body. In recent years, she has attended the funerals of sister-in-law, Coretta Scott King (died January 30, 2006) and niece Yolanda King (died May 15, 2007). In an interview with CNN, she said she would not attend an April 2008 event marking the 40th anniversary of her brother's assassination, because the painful memories of her last visit to Memphis still haunt her. Her husband, Issac Newton Farris Sr., died on December 30, 2017, at the age of 83.

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