Bernice King believes it's 'critical' to heed Martin Luther King's lessons today

Bernice King had just turned five when she learned of her father’s assassination. 

It was 7:01 p.m. in Memphis when Martin Luther King Jr. was shot, close to her bedtime, so she didn’t know about the tragedy until the next day. Her mother, Coretta Scott King, headed to the airport the next day. When Coretta returned to Atlanta on April 5, 1968, Bernice and her siblings were taken to the airport to meet her and board a plane.

There would be no more dinners with Daddy. No more showering him with kisses when he came back from a trip. This was her introduction to death.

“My mother realized at that point she hadn’t prepared me,” Bernice told HuffPost during a recent phone interview. “And so, she had to explain to me that, ‘Your daddy’s dead, when you see him, he’s going to be laying in a casket. He won’t be able to speak to you, and his spirit has gone to live with God.’”

On April 9, the day of the funeral, Coretta played a portion of the sermon her husband had delivered just two months prior at Ebenezer Baptist Church, in which he prophetically gave his own eulogy.

RELATED: Martin Luther King Jr. through the years

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Martin Luther King Jr. through the years
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Martin Luther King Jr. through the years
circa 1953: Headshot of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr (1929 - 1968), American civil rights leader and pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, wearing his vestments. (Photo by Michael Evans/New York Times Co./Getty Images)
Former Senator Lehman presents 'Americans for Democratic Action' scroll to Reverend Martin Luther King at the Astor Hotel. February 03, 1961. (Photo by William N. Jacobellis/New York Post Archives /(c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)
Dr Martin Luther King Jr, the civil rights campaigner and famous orator, portrait of a young man, in a black suit and tie with his head tilted., 1955. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Reverend Ralph Abernathy are shown 'integrating' one of the first buses in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955. This scene is from the striking three-hour feature film, King: A Filmed Record. . .Montgomery to Memphis, to be presented for the first time on television on WPIX TV, Channel 11, Tuesday, April 4, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., in observance of the fourth anniversary of the death of Dr. King. 1955.
American civil rights leader, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 - 1968) speaks as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama, March 20, 1956. (Photo by George Tames/New York Times Co./Getty Images)
MONTGOMERY, AL - MAY 1956: Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. relaxes at home in May 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
MONTGOMERY, AL - MAY 1956: Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. relaxes at home with his family in May 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
MONTGOMERY, AL - MAY 1956: Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. relaxes at home with his family in May 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
MONTGOMERY, AL - MAY 13: Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks with people after delivering a sermon on May 13, 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King speaking from pulpit at mass meeting about principles of non-violence before leading assembly to ride newly integrated busses after successful boycott. (Photo by Don Cravens/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. standing at the Lincoln Memorial with police officers and posing to a photographer during 'Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom' in Washington, D.C. in 1957. (Photo By Paul Schutzer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
A rear view of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 1957. (Photo By Paul Schutzer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. addressing the crowd during 'Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom' at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 1957. (Photo By Paul Schutzer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (C) talking to an unidentified man. (Photo by Grey Villet/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) 9/30/1958-New York, NY: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., poses with his mother (Left) and his wife at Harlem Hospital here Sept. 30th during his first newsconference since being stabbed by Mrs. Izola Curry on Sept. 20th. King said he had no ill will towards Mrs. Curry. He added that he knows thoughtful people will do all in their power to see that she gets the help she apparently needs if it becomes a free and constructive member of Society.
American Civil Rights and religious leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr (1929 - 1968) holds his infant daughter, Yolanda King (1955 - 2007), in his arms, 1956. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)
American Civil Rights and religious leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr (1929 - 1968) bends down as he speaks with a group of schoolgirls in a classroom, January 1960. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM BENEFIT SHOW: Martin Luther King Jr., left, and an unidentified man address the crowd during the Salute to Freedom concert. (Photo By Grey Villet/The LIFE Premium Collection/Getty Images)
Martin Luther King, Jr., Close-Up During Speech, circa 1960's. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
On the campus of Atlanta University (later renamed Clark Atlanta University) to discuss 'sit-in' protests, American religious and Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr (1929 � 1968) (fore) sits with his hands on his knee, as future politician (and Washington DC mayor) Marion Barry stands behind him, Atlanta, Georgia, mid-May, 1960. (Photo by Howard Sochurek/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Civil Rights ldr. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holding his son Martin III as his daughter Bernice and wife Coretta greet him at the airport upon his release from Georgia State prison after incarceration for leading boycotts. (Photo by Donald Uhrbrock/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
After Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is freed from jail under a $2000 appeal bond, he is greeted by his wife Coretta and children, Marty and Yoki, at the airport in Chamblee, Georgia.
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (3R) participating in planning session for Freedom Riders' bus trip from Montgomery, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo by Lee Lockwood/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Freedom Riders' leaders Reverend Metz Rollins and Martin Luther King Jr. sitting on a church bench with an unidentified person during the Freedom Rider crisis in May of 1961.
Rev. Martin Luther king (L), and attorneys Mrs. Constance Motley and William Kunstler enter their car here 7/25 after a federal judge issued a stay of another jurist's injunction against integration demonstrations at Albany, Ga. King, leader of racial demonstrations over the South, said he would return to Albany immediately.
(Original Caption) 4/12/1963-Birmingham, AL: A police officer grabs Southern integration leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., by the seat of his trousers in jailing him for leading an anti-segregation march.
American Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968) (center, pointig with right hand) leads a march to a rally against racial discrimination at Coho Hall, Detroit, Michigan, June 23, 1963. Among those with him are Reverend Clarence Franklin (1915 - 1984) (third from left, holding King's right arm) and Detroit mayor Jerome Cavanagh (1928 ? 1979) (second right). (Photo by Francis Miller/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. giving his I Have a Dream speech to huge crowd gathered for the Mall in Washington DC during the March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom (aka the Freedom March). (Photo by Francis Miller/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Overhead view of the massive crowd assembled on the Mall in front of the Reflecting Pool and between the Lincoln and Washington monuments during the civil rights March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Washington DC, August 28, 1963. It was at this rally that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his 'I Have a Dream' speech. (Photo by Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
View of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 - 1968, center) at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where he would deliver his 'I Have a Dream' speech, Washington DC, 28th August 1963. (Photo by Rowland Scherman/Getty Images)
View of some of the leaders of March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom as they prepare to march, Washington DC, August 28, 1963. Among those pictured are, front row from third left, John Lewis (holding manila fodler), Matthew Ahman,Floyd B. McKissick (1922 - 1991), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr (1929 - 1968), Reverend Eugene Carson Blake (1906 - 1985), Cleveland Robinson (1914 - 1995), Joachim Prinz (hidden), unidentified (hidden), Whitney Young (1921 - 1971), Roy Wilkins (1901 - 1981), Walter Reuther (1907 - 1970), and A. Philip Randolph (1889 - 1979). The march provided the setting for Dr. King's iconic 'I Have a Dream' speech. (Photo by Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) three-quarter-length portrait, standing, face front, at a press conference. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
12th August 1964: American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968) waves with his children, Yolanda and Martin Luther III, from the 'Magic Skyway' ride at the Worlds Fair, New York City. The ride was a replica of a Ford convertible. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
President Lyndon B Johnson (1908 - 1973) discusses the Voting Rights Act with civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968). The act, part of President Johnson's 'Great Society' program trebled the number of black voters in the south, who had previously been hindered by racially inspired laws, 1965. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holds a picture of three missing civil rights workers, Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman (l to r) during a press conference. The bodies of the three men were later found near Philadelphia, Mississippi and the
LOS ANGELES -1965: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sits at a table during The Nation Institute California Conference circa 1965 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Martin Mills/Getty Images)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1964 Nobel peace Prize winner and leader of the American Negro civil rights movement for more than a decade, addresses an integrated audience during a testimonial dinner in his honor here 1/27. The dinner was held in one of the city's largest downtown hotels.
American religious and Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr (1929 - 1968) watches US President Lyndon Johnson on television, Selma, Alabama, March 1965. (Photo by Frank Dandridge/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
'(from left to right) Harry Belafonte, Chairman Reverend Martin Luther King and Sammy Davis, Jr., Co-Chairmen for the Broadway Answers Selma benefit at the Majestic Theater. April 06, 1965. (Photo by Jerry Engel/New York Post Archives /(c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)'
FRANCE - OCTOBER 24: Portrait of the American Baptist Martin LUTHER KING Jr. on a trip to Paris. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1964 for his peaceful action to obtain civil rights for African Americans in the USA. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Martin Luther King, Jr. meets with President Eisenhower at the White House. (Photo by � CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Civil Rights leaders walk arm in arm at a march in Canton, Mississippi. CORE leader Floyd McKissick (c) and Stokely Carmichael of SNCC (r) support the Black Power movement while Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (l) stresses non-violent racial integration.
Martin Luther King, Jr., wearing a hat and sunglasses calls out 'All right, all right, we're gonna march, we're gonna march straight south' as he leads marchers across the Coldwater River Bridge in Coldwater, Mississippi. Dr. King resumed James Meredith' | Location: Coldwater, Mississippi, USA.
WASHINGTON - APRIL 16: FACE THE NATION featuring Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Image dated: April 16, 1967. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
A portrait of American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), circa 1968. (Photo by RDA/Getty Images)
American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 - 1968), watched by Dr. Charles Bousenquet, signs the Degree Roll At Newcastle University after receiving an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree, Newcastle, England, November 14, 1967. (Photo by /Getty Images)
Dr. Martin Luther King press conference held at Sardi's West. June 20, 1967. (Photo by Vic DeLucia/New York Post Archives /(c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Washington, DC: Close up of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on the phone after delivering a sermon at the Washington Episcopal Cathedral. King predicted a 'right wing takeover and a fascist state' will develop in America by 1980, if Congress does not do more for the poor.
Members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference sit in the room of assassinated Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr at the Lorriane Motel (#306) shortly after King's death, Memphis, Tennessee April 4, 1968. Among those present are Andrew Young (at left near lamp, with hand on chin) and Ralph Abernathy (1926 � 1990) (center rear, with round tie pin). (Photo by Henry Groskinsky/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
After the assassination of Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr outside the door of room 306 at the Lorraine Motel, a group of men stand in front of the room window on the motel's balcony, Memphis, Tennessee, April 4, 1968. Theatrice Bailey (1910 - 1982), brother of the motel's owner, stands at the right. (Photo by Henry Groskinsky/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) 4/9/1968-Atlanta, GA: Mule-drawn caisson carrying the casket of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is followed by dignitaries and aids as it moves towards the campus of Morehead College for a memorial service.
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“And again, remember, she told me he couldn’t talk to me, but a child knows their dad’s voice,” Bernice said, recalling her mother’s lesson about what spirits were through a simple hug and “Mommy loves you.” “So I started looking around for him.”

Even days after his death, the civil rights leader managed to deliver a timely message at his own funeral. Previous assassination attempts, FBI surveillance and constant threats didn’t make it too impossible for King to foresee his own killing. But his teachings brought wisdom and foresight that carry on ― even 50 years later.

The question has been asked time and time again, quite possibly more recently than ever before: What would King say if he were alive to see the world today?

According to his daughter, he’s already said it.

“Dr. King, who fought against ... what he called the triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism, is very relevant to us now, and I think we need to heed some of the things that he was trying to instruct us on while he was with us,” Bernice said.

The minister fought many battles during his lifetime. He helped challenge racism in the South with boycotts, sit-ins and marches in the spirit of what’s known today as Kingian Nonviolence. For over a decade, King put his life on the line during these demonstrations and was instrumental in bringing forth the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. 

King was more than a dreamer. He gave about 450 speeches a year and wrote five books. Through his extensive log of works, especially in his final three years of life, King expressed radical thoughts about socialism, anti-militarism (during the Vietnam War) and a global revolution for civil rights. 

RELATED: A look back at MLK's assassination

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Scene of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination
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Scene of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination
TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES - APRIL 04: Police carrying body of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. after he was shot by assassin James Earl Ray. (Photo by Joseph Louw/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) 4/4/1968-Memphis, TN: Police stand guard on balcony of motel in which Negro leader Dr. Martin Luther King was shot 4/4. King was felled by a single shot as he stood on balcony of his downtown motel.
Bloodstained balcony of Lorraine Motel, where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was shot by white sniper, James Earl Ray. (Photo by Henry Groskinsky/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
View of a nearby rooming house (on the left) where suspect James Earl Ray was believed to have fired the fatal shot that killed Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, Memphis, Tennessee, April 4, 1968. (Photo by Henry Groskinsky/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Daily News front page April, 5, 1968, Headline: MARTIN KING SHOT TO DEATH - Gunned Down in Memphis - A Man of Peace. In December 1964, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., then 35, accepted Nobel Peace Prize from Gunnar Jahn in Oslo, Norway. Last night, in Memphis, Tenn., Dr. King was shot to death as he stood on balcony of his hotel. He was there to lead garbage strike marches. Two men were arrested shortly after shooting. (Photo By: /NY Daily News via Getty Images)
An unidentified man stands outside the door of room 306 on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, a few feet from where Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated earlier in the evening, Memphis, Tennessee, April 4, 1968. The photo was taken from a nearby rooming house where suspect James Earl Ray was believed to have fired the fatal shot. (Photo by Henry Groskinsky/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Simulated view through a gunsight of the balcony at the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and killed.
(Original Caption) View of balcony on which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was standing when fatally shot April 4th as he leaned over railing to talk to friends outside the Lorraine Motel.
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He was also seen as a threat to those who didn’t want to relinquish power. Toward the end of his life, his influence had gotten too great to be contained. King’s family doesn’t believe that James Earl Ray killed their father, Bernice said. They believe his assassination was an organized effort (12 jurors later agreed with them, ruling his killing as a result of conspiracy in 1999).

Dr. King, who fought against ... what he called the triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism, is very relevant to us now.Bernice King

Death was a new concept for young Bernice at the time of her father’s assassination, but it became a familiar theme. Her uncle, A.D. King, was found dead in a pool the following year. Her grandmother was shot in church a few years after. 

Bernice admits she was not OK. She said her mother was the binding force that held her family together through tragedy and maintained a sense of normalcy. Coretta continued to carry the torch she held high during her husband’s life, fighting for equality each day, even as she mourned her personal trauma.

“[My mother] was really a super woman; she raised four kids while helping to raise a nation and keep it from teetering on the edge of violent, just continual violent outbreaks. Yes, there were riots after my dad was assassinated, but really, I think her posture on April the 8th when she went to Memphis to lead that march he was scheduled to lead, and what she said was so critical to quelling some of the tension at the time,” she recalled, stating that her mother shaped the King legacy.

“For a man who was very hated, and one of the most hated, in fact, during the time of the assassination, and now one of the most loved in the world, and really that’s because of her work, her effort on the day-to-day basis,” Bernice added. 

Despite the weight their name carried, Bernice said her mom never put added pressure on her. “You don’t have to be your father. You don’t have to be me, just be your best self,” Coretta would tell her. 

Even so, it was Bernice’s calling to continue her parents’ mission.

The youngest child of four, Bernice chose to walk in the path of ministry at a young age. As her father did, Bernice married her faith with activism throughout her life, becoming the second woman to be ordained at Ebenezer Baptist Church and the first woman to be elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a position she turned down.

My father provided some very important guidance in how we deal with conflict and polarization. I think his teachings on nonviolence are critical in this hour, now more than ever before.Bernice King

Today, as the CEO of the King Center (founded by her mother), Bernice still upholds her father’s message of nonviolence, making sure his legacy isn’t watered down and that her mother isn’t erased from the conversation. She uses that spirit Coretta taught her about at age five to speak out against today’s injustices, especially on social media. She’s applauded Black Lives Matter activists who are on the front lines ― and are similarly tracked by the FBI ― and, more recently, the Never Again movement.

The times may have changed, but the message still applies.

“My father provided some very important guidance in how we deal with conflict and polarization. I think his teachings on nonviolence are critical in this hour, now more than ever before,” Bernice said. “Because the tension is very high, it’s heightened, and in order for us to move from this moment so that it doesn’t create further fragmentation and probably escalate to something none of us will want to see, we need to resort to some of those teachings. And realize that we[’re] a part of this global humanity.”

RELATED: Rallies and marches mark the 50th anniversary of MLK's assassination

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Marches and rallies mark 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination
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Marches and rallies mark 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination
People march in an I AM 2018 March and Rally during events surrounding the 50th anniversary of the death of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Karen Pulfer Focht
Christian hip hop artist and rapper Julian ? J.Kwest ? DeShazier speaks to anti-racism marchers from the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA and ACT (Awaken, Confront, Transform) to End Racism as they rally to mark the 50th anniversary of the slain civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination on the National Mall in Washington, U.S. April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Anti-racism marchers from the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA and ACT (Awaken, Confront, Transform) to End Racism reach out to touch the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial as they engage in a silent march and rally to mark the 50th anniversary of the slain civil rights leader's assassination in Washington, U.S. April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
People attend a silent march and rally on the National Mall to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, U.S., April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Thayer
Sandra Coles-Bell worships to music with others during "End Racism Rally" held by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S. and Awaken, Confront, Transform (ACT) on the National Mall on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, U.S. April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 04: Members of Definition of Percussion Entertainment (D.O.P.E.) lead marchers from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial to the National Mall to mark the 50th anniversary of King's assassination April 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. Organized by A.C.T. To End Racism, religious leaders and others gathered to memorialize the day that Nobel Peace Prize and American civil rights leader King was killed while supporting a sanitation workers strike in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Actor Danny Glover gives a speech as Terry Provance holds his notes during the "End Racism Rally" held by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA and Awaken, Confront, Transform (ACT) on the National Mall on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, U.S. April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson speaks in front of the U.S. Capitol during the "End Racism Rally" on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the National Mall in Washington, U.S., April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
People commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., hold a prayer rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC, April 4, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - People wait to march to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. April 4, 2018 in Memphis, Tennessee. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 04: Marchers gather at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial for a silent walk to a prayer service on the National Mall to mark the 50th anniversary of King's assassination April 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. Organized by A.C.T. To End Racism, religious leaders and others gathered to memorialize the day that Nobel Peace Prize and American civil rights leader King was killed while supporting a sanitation workers strike in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 04: The Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland Tune addresses faith leaders as they prepare for a silent march from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial to the National Mall to mark the 50th anniversary of King's assassination April 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. Organized by A.C.T. To End Racism, religious leaders and others gathered to memorialize the day that Nobel Peace Prize and American civil rights leader King was killed while supporting a sanitation workers strike in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 04: The sun rises at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the 50th anniversary of King's assassination April 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. A prayer march organized by A.C.T. To End Racism brought together religious leaders and others to memorialize the day that Nobel Peace Prize and American civil rights leader King was killed while supporting a sanitation workers strike in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 04: Marchers silently walk from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial to the National Mall to mark the 50th anniversary of King's assassination April 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. Organized by A.C.T. To End Racism, religious leaders and others gathered to memorialize the day that Nobel Peace Prize and American civil rights leader King was killed while supporting a sanitation workers strike in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 04: Marchers gather at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial for a silent walk to a prayer service on the National Mall to mark the 50th anniversary of King's assassination April 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. Organized by A.C.T. To End Racism, religious leaders and others gathered to memorialize the day that Nobel Peace Prize and American civil rights leader King was killed while supporting a sanitation workers strike in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 04: (L-R) Regina Simpson, Rev. Dionne Boissiere and Rev. Dawn Sanders gather with other faith leaders for a silent march from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial to the National Mall to mark the 50th anniversary of King's assassination April 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. Organized by A.C.T. To End Racism, religious leaders and others gathered to memorialize the day that Nobel Peace Prize and American civil rights leader King was killed while supporting a sanitation workers strike in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
People arrive to march to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. April 4, 2018 in Memphis, Tennessee. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Just like her father, Bernice is looking to love and light to clear out the hate and darkness of today. She hopes that spirit, along with some legislative action, resonates as the world tackles those same three evils her father fought against: poverty, racism, militarization. 

“Always realize that even your strongest advocate and opponent is a part of the human family, albeit they may have small shortcomings, and even strength in them, they are part of that human family,” Bernice said. “And that whatever you do, to stand in truth and justice, you will refuse to even destroy them in the process, because your goal is to make sure that the sacredness of human life is always preserved. That’s Martin Luther King Jr. in a nutshell.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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