Culture of Violence Must Change, Says Martin Luther King III

He spoke at a meeting in Fort Lauderdale three days before the holiday honoring his father

By Donna Rapado
|  Saturday, Jan 19, 2013  |  Updated 7:54 AM EDT
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Martin Luther King III had a crowd attending the YMCA's event at First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale listening closely Friday. Will Davies said his appearance

Martin Luther King III had a crowd attending the YMCA's event at First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale listening closely Friday. Will Davies said his appearance "was really quite a moment."

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He looks, and sounds, a lot like his father.

"Even in life if it follows your lot to be a street sweeper, why, go on and sweep streets like Michelangelo carved marble,” Martin Luther King III said.

He was the guest speaker Friday at an inspirational breakfast meeting of the YMCA of Broward County, Florida – just days before the national holiday marking Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

The civil rights leader was gunned down in 1968, when his son was just 10 years old. King III has dedicated his life to spreading his father's message of peace, love and equality.

The 500 people at the event at First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale clung to his words – about how each American must have justice, health care and a home, and every child a great education.

King III pointed out that we live in a culture of violence – and said it is vital that we change that soon.

"My dad was trying to teach us not just about a culture of non-violence. Not only was he teaching us, but he lived that way. He taught us how to turn the other cheek,” he said. “And in Birmingham in '63 – he was arrested over 39 times, and whenever he was arrested if you think about it, he and his team transformed our nation and it reverberates throughout our world, without using a gun, or a stick or a brick. But with the power of love and forgiveness."

Attendee Will Davies said King III’s appearance “was really quite a moment."

"He was every bit the inspiration we'd hoped and he talked about the challenges we have, but more importantly how we can deal with them together. And the legacy of his father,” Davies said.

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