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Tue, 09.13.1904

Alberta Williams King, Teacher, and Activist born

Alberta W. King

*Alberta Williams King was born on this date in 1904. She was a Black educator, instrumentalist, and administrator.

Alberta Christine Williams was born in Atlanta, GA. Her parents were Reverend Adam Daniel Williams, preacher of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and Jennie Celeste (Parks) Williams. Williams graduated from high school at the Spelman Seminary and earned a teaching certificate at the Hampton Normal and Industrial Institute (now Hampton University) in 1924.

Williams met Martin L. King Sr. (then known as Michael King), whose sister Woodie was boarding with her parents shortly before leaving for Hampton. After graduating, she announced her engagement to King at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. She taught briefly before their Thanksgiving Day 1926 wedding but had to stop because the local school board prohibited married women from teaching. After their wedding, the newly married couple moved into an upstairs bedroom at the Williams family home, where all three children were born. King's first child daughter was Willie Christine King, followed by Michael Luther King Jr. (later Martin) and Alfred Daniel Williams King I, named after his grandfather.

She worked hard to instill self-respect into her children. During this period, she continued her studies at Morris Brown College, receiving a B.A. in 1938. King founded the Ebenezer choir and was a church organist from 1932 to 1972. She served as choir director for nearly 25 years, leaving for only a brief period in the early 1960s to accompany her son and assist him with his work. She returned to the position in 1963 and continued until "retiring" in 1972. In addition to the choir, King was the organizer and president of the Ebenezer Women's Committee from 1950 to 1962.

Outside of her work at Ebenezer, King was the organist for the Women's Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention from 1950 to 1962. She was also active in the YWCA, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Alberta King was murdered on June 30, 1974, at age 69, by Marcus Wayne Chenault, a 23-year-old black man from Ohio. In the attack, he also killed one of the church's deacons, Edward Boykin, and Mrs. Jimmie Mitchell, a retired school teacher, suffered a wound to the neck. King died shortly afterward from a gunshot wound to the right of her head. She was interred at the South-View Cemetery in Atlanta.

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