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Yolanda Denise King (November 17, 1955 May 15, 2007) was the first-born child of Coretta Scott King and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Her younger siblings are Martin Luther King, III, Dexter Scott King, and Rev. Dr. Bernice Albertine King.


Born in Montgomery, Alabamamarker to Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King, King was a human rights activist and actress. An alumna of Smith Collegemarker, she was a member of the Board of Directors of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc. (the official national memorial to her father) and was founding Director of the King Center's Cultural Affairs Program. She served on the Partnership Council of Habitat for Humanity, was the first national Ambassador for the American Stroke Association's "Power to End Stroke" Campaign, a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a sponsor of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Human Rights Campaign, and held a lifetime membership in the NAACP. King received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Smith Collegemarker in Northamptonmarker, Massachusettsmarker, a Master's degree in theater from New York Universitymarker and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Marywood Universitymarker. In 1978 she starred as Rosa Parks in the TV miniseries King (which was based on her father's life and released on DVD in 2005). King was a spokeswoman for the national stroke awareness association.

Yolanda King co-edited a book, with Elodia Tate, titled "Open My Eyes, Open My Soul: Celebrating Our Common Humanity" . It was published by McGraw-Hill 2003.

King was an ardent activist for gay rights, as was her mother, Coretta.


On May 15, 2007, King died aged 51 in Santa Monicamarker, Californiamarker. She collapsed at the home of Philip Madison Jones, her brother Dexter King's best friend, and could not be revived. Her family has speculated that her death was caused by a heart condition. A public memorial for Yolanda King was held on May 24, 2007 at Ebenezer Baptist Church Horizon Sanctuary in Atlanta. King was cremated.

On May 25, 2008, her brother Martin Luther III and his wife, Arndrea, gave birth to a baby girl and named her Yolanda, after his late sister.


  1. Open My Eyes, Open My Soul,
  2. CBS Early Show,
  3. Task Force mourns death of Yolanda King 'An unwavering voice for equality and justice',
  4. Out & Equal Mourns the Passing of Civil Rights Leader,
  5. Yolanda King Dead At Age 51,

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