At the start of the press conference, Bernice King pointed out the irony of his mother passing on the same day that the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action, or race-conscious admissions. Isaac Newton Farris Jr. said he was glad his mother died in the morning before she could learn about the Supreme Court’s decision, which he said would have affected her on two levels; from a civil rights standpoint, and as someone who spent most of her life as a professor.
Isaac Newton Farris Jr. recalled how his mother was there for everything as a witness and supporter, from lending her brother the money for an engagement ring to marry Coretta Scott King, to helping her sisters-in-law raise the children after her brothers died. Christine King Farris was the “backbone at Ebenezer Church,” and a long-standing faculty member at Spelman College, Isaac Newton Farris Jr. said.
“That’s probably why God allowed her to be the last to leave of that generation, because she was that one that was there,” he said.
With only a day since his mother’s death, Isaac Newton Farris Jr. choked up a few times throughout the conference. His cousin, Bernice King, would put a hand to his back, or pass him a tissue as he remembered how well Christine King Farris served the Williams-King-Farris legacy.
“The matriarch, the last standing woman, has left us,” he said through tears.
They remembered her as a woman who was always one of the best dressed in a room, who was full of faith and love despite the tragedies she lived through, who exemplified what it meant to forgive, Bernice King said.
“For me, and I’m sure for Isaac, one of the things that really was hard for me yesterday is that every time, she was there. Through everything we went through, she was there,” she said. “She wasn’t there yesterday.”
The family said there are no concrete funeral plans yet, but that it will be in about two weeks.