By Black Radio Network Staff
ATLANTA - The Rev. Bernice King said today she will not assume the presidency of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the civil rights group co-founded by her father more than 50 years ago.
King, a minister, was the first woman elected SCLC president, a position once held by her father and her brother, Martin Luther King III. But soon after, the SCLC's chairman Raleigh Trammell and Treasurer Spiver Gordonand were accused of financial mismanagement, and bitter infighting among the group's leaders landed the split factions in a courtroom.
The FBI and the Fulton County District Attorney's Office opened investigations into the matter, and it is still pending. A grand jury in Ohio has indicted Trammell in connection with his spending of that chapter's money.
A Fulton County judge ruled last summer that Trammell and his supporters were not the official board. Even then, King did not assume the position of SCLC president.
She said in a written statement today that her decision came “after numerous attempts to connect with the official board leaders on how to move forward under my leadership, unfortunately, our visions did not align. "
“After praying mightily and seeking wise counsel, I have decided not to assume the presidency of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,” she said in her statement.
“As a steward of the King legacy, I must shift my focus to further advancing its growth and perpetuation overall. Specifically, I will be devoting my energy towards developing my mother’s legacy, Mrs. Coretta Scott King; preparing to work with The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference alongside Reverend Samuel Rodriguez; and laying the groundwork to launch a ministry initiative. I will continue to pray for SCLC’s growth and resurrection and wish the organization great success in its mission.”
Her decision now leaves the organization facing an uncertain future without a leader, but King would not comment on whether she thought the SCLC should disband.