Dexter Scott King, the youngest child of the renowned civil rights activists Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, passed away on Monday after a prolonged fight with prostate cancer at the age of 62.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, which also houses his father’s grave, announced his passing. Dexter was only seven years old when his father was assassinated in 1968. He was the third child of the legendary couple and had lost his eldest sister, Yolanda, earlier.
He is survived by his elder brother, Martin Luther King III, and his younger sister, Bernice King, who currently manages the King Center. His wife of 11 years, Leah Weber King, shared with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Dexter passed away peacefully in his sleep at their home in Malibu. She praised his courage and determination in his fight against the devastating disease.
His death came just a week after the national holiday commemorating his father’s legacy. His sister expressed her profound grief at losing another sibling and asked for prayers for strength during this challenging time. His brother also shared his shock and devastation at Dexter’s sudden passing and requested prayers for the entire King family.
Dexter King carried forward the legacy of the civil rights movement, a legacy deeply embedded in his name — Scott and King — inherited from his parents. He was named after the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, where his father first gained prominence. This church, located opposite Alabama’s state capital, was the epicenter of the historic Montgomery bus boycott led by his father and Rosa Parks.
As an adult, Dexter, who closely resembled his father, continued his parents’ work and even managed the King Center for a time. He portrayed his father in the 2002 television movie “The Rosa Parks Story.” Reverend Al Sharpton, a collaborator with the King family on civil rights initiatives, expressed his sorrow at Dexter’s passing but found solace in the thought that Dexter was now reunited with his parents and sister.