A little more than a year after Martin Luther King Jr., was killed in Memphis, his brother, A.D. King, who had long toiled in his brother's shadow, drowned in his swimming pool. With his death, A.D. King has virtually vanished from the landscape and for the most part serves as a mere footnote in civil rights history. His widow, Naomi King (pictured), is trying to change that through a foundation she created in his name.
Two young Kings: Martin Luther King Jr. and his younger brother, A.D. King in a 1930s era photo. The brothers grew up in a religious family, led by their pastor father, Martin Luther King Sr., who expected great things from both of them. But while King Jr. followed the path, A.D. King delayed his college education and entry into the ministry while he raised a family. King biographer and Stanford University historian Clayborne Carson, said that while Martin had his own disagreements with the sometimes domineering Daddy King, he was always careful not to damage the relationship. "A.D. would cross the line," Carson said. "Martin was always his father's favorite son. He was older, he did well and he fulfilled his father s ambition. From what I understand about (A.D.), he had internal demons."
On June 17, 1950, 19-year-old A.D. King married Naomi Ruth Barber, who was 18. Although he was the youngest of the King children, he was the first to get married and start a family. His siblings, Martin Luther King Jr. and Christine King, attended the wedding.
In 1961, A.D. King moved to Birmingham to pastor First Baptist Church of Ensley. While there, his church served as a base for civil rights activities, which made him a target. On May 11, 1963, two bombs ripped through his home, completely destroying the front of the house.
"It was Saturday night before Mother's Day and I had just decorated the table," Naomi King said about the bombing. "I was just sitting there reflecting on the goodness of the lord, when I noticed my picture window had a crack in it. A.D. entered the room and sensed something was wrong. He said, Let's get out of here. It is too quiet," Naomi King said. "By the time we got to the middle of our home, the second bomb went off and the whole front of the house collapsed. It was just plain hatred. No more than that."