King family launches Drum Major Coalition to fund, empower existing community organizers

Long-stemmed roses rest on the reflecting pool wall at the crypts of civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his wife Coretta Scott King, in Atlanta on Monday Jan. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/David Tulis)

In his final sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached of the “drum major instinct,” calling out that anyone can serve and find greatness in pursuing community organizing.

Today, that sermon is the inspiration for a new initiative launched by Martin Luther King III and his wife, Arndrea Waters King, to fund millions of dollars toward organizations working to fulfill what Dr. King strived toward.

The Kings joined “Closer Look” to talk about the Drum Major Coalition and why they chose the initial 40 Black- and brown-led organizations for funding – with plans to expand to even more groups in the next couple of years.

“He wanted to eradicate what he called the triple evils of poverty, racism, and violence,” King III said. “Obviously we haven’t made progress enough in those areas … We believe through those values of peace, justice, and equity, we can ultimately eradicate those triple evils to make our society better.”

Plus, an interview with Dr. Robert Franklin, former Morehouse College president who’s now with the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, on how the moral leadership of Dr. King still shapes the work of activists today. Franklin’s interview was featured in WABE’s ATL68 series on the life and legacy of Dr. King.

Also, we commemorate the passing of Jimi Hendrix – who died 52 years ago this week – by revisiting a 2018 interview with bassist Billy Cox, the only surviving musician who regularly played with Hendrix.