MLK 50: Bernice King talks about her father’s lasting legacy

NEW ORLEANS -- The historic Lorraine Motel is the site of one of our country's darkest moments, but this week it is ground zero for celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday (April 4) is the 50th anniversary of King's assassination. He was shot and killed at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, now the home of the National Civil Rights Museum.

News with a Twist is in Memphis this week to cover the MLK 50 commemoration. For the past year, News with a Twist has been bringing you local and national stories that highlight the Civil Rights Movement as a way to honor the slain civil rights icon.

Today, we bring you an interview with MLK's daughter, Bernice, who spoke to News with a Twist about her father's long-lasting legacy and his non-violent approach to major change.

"It's a way of life, the way my father taught it. Violence begets violence. You have to arrest all of what you are feeling at that moment," Bernice King said. "My mother and father holistically believed in non-violence and so... I believe if we had had a gun, I probably would have used it."

Bernice King was 5 years old when her father was shot and killed. Not many people know that just a few years later, when Bernice was 11, her grandmother was shot in church.

"I kept a lot in for years and never had conversations or discussions about how I was processing all of that. By the time I was 16, 17, 18 I was so angry and hurt and mad at the world," she recalled.

So, what got Bernice through the hard times? For Bernice, it was a single quote from her mother.

"Social change is a long-term process. It doesn't happen overnight," Bernice said. "The thing that helped me is my mother's quote when she said, 'Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.' It helped me to understand that every generation is going to have a calling into this freedom struggle. All of humanity is going to be called to the freedom struggle. Each generation has its peculiar assignment. We have to discover what that is and make that contribution."

Check back with WGNO.com for more coverage this week from the MLK 50 commemoration in Memphis.