Alberta King, the mother of Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most important men in the US history, was killed six years after her son’s passing at the age of 69.
The crime happened on June 30, 1974, at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Alberta was the church’s organist, and she was eager to play the new organ they had gotten in front of the approximately 500 people who attended Sunday’s service that day.
Her husband Martin Luther King Sr. was not at the church when the incident happened even though he was the pastor.
At some point during the service, a man wearing a tan suit and thick glasses got in the church unnoticed. When Alberta started playing “The Lord’s Prayer,” Marcus Wayne Chenault Jr., who was 23 years old at the time of the crime, stood up and yelled “I’m taking over here! I’m tired of all this!”
After that, the man ran to where Alberta was playing and shot at her multiple times using two pistols. Apart from Alberta, two other people also got shot.
One of them was a deacon named Edward Boykin, who also passed away. Another person was shot but ultimately survived.
Marcus was arrested soon after the crime, and he told police that his target was actually Martin Sr. but since he wasn’t at the church, he shot Alberta “because she was close to him,” reported New York Times.
Marcus Wayne Chenault Jr., Alberta King's killer, talking after the incident | Source: originalpeople.org
Martin Sr. got the chance to talk to Marcus and ask him for a reason to kill Alberta, and the killer said that he had done it “because she was a Christian and all Christians are my enemies.”
Apart from that, he said that Black ministers were a menace to Black people and must be killed.
Once in court, Marcus, who was diagnosed mentally ill, identified himself as a Hebrew called “Servant Jacob,” adding that he was sent on a mission that was “partially accomplished.”
Even though Marcus was expected to face the death penalty, the Kings were against that decision, so the man was sentenced to spend his life in prison. On August 22, 1995, Marcus suffered a stroke in jail and passed away at 44 years of age.
One of the most interesting aspects of Alberta’s death is that not many people know the details of her tragic death. The reason for such a crime to pass unnoticed might be her private personality.
During her funeral, Reverend L.V. Booth reportedly said that she “sounded no trumpets to call attention to her greatness. Apart from that, the men around her might have unintentionally overshadowed her “greatness,” too.
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