PODCAST

The Voices of King

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Thirteen people. Thirteen people who bore witness to the last days of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Originally recorded by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2008 and released as a podcast in 2018 to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s death. The AJC’s revisits these important conversations to give you a glimpse inside the making of history. Episodes will be released every Thursday. Hosted by Ryon Horne. Each episode will be made available through the Unapologetically ATL newsletter, but you can also subscribe to “The Voices of King” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts so you never miss an episode.

Ep. 13: Bernice King
6d ago
Ep. 13: Bernice King
What a way to be introduced to the world. On April 9, 1968, just five days after her father was assassinated and two weeks after her 5th birthday, Bernice King found herself slumped on her mother’s lap. There she was, the youngest of Coretta and Martin Luther King Jr.’s four children, in a packed Ebenezer Baptist Church, dressed in a white dress. Her eyes were expressionless. A baby, mourning a father. Although a photographer from Ebony Magazine captured the moment, during a 2008 interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, King strained to remember the range of emotions she felt the day that her father was buried. Moneta Sleet Jr.’s photograph of Bernice and Coretta Scott King won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography, making him the first African-American man to win the Pulitzer and the first African American to win award for journalism. King recollections of that moment was part of an oral history project marking the then 40th anniversary of King’s death. King was one of 13 people that The AJC sat down with to record their stories and shed light on the life and death of the civil rights leader. On the April 4 anniversary of King’s death, we re-released all of the interviews as a 13-part podcast hosted by Multimedia Journalist Ryon Horne. The ground-breaking series featured intimate conversations with family, friends and colleagues of King who each gave us a glimpse inside of the history that King was making. Along with Bernice King, we talked to her brother Martin Luther King III and her aunt, Christine King Farris. We also sat down with Xernona Clayton, Tyrone Brooks, Earl Caldwell and Andrew Young. But of particular value were the conversations with people who are no longer with us, like Kathryn Johnson, Billy Kyle, Juanita Abernathy, Ralph David Abernathy, the Rev. Joseph Lowery and Congressman John Lewis. Each of the 13 episodes is available through the Unapologetically ATL newsletter, but you can also subscribe to “The Voices of King” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts so you never miss an episode.
Ep. 12: Xernona Clayton
Jun 16 2022
Ep. 12: Xernona Clayton
For Xernona Clayton, standing over Martin Luther King Jr.’s body as it lay in a casket inside Spelman College’s Sisters Chapel, the feeling was unreal. Looking at her friend, she noticed a “big blob on his right cheek. Red like the red clay of Georgia. It was pretty unsightly.” Her mind flashed back to just three months earlier when she planned a rousing surprise party for King to celebrate his 39th birthday. She thought about how exhausted she was after trudging, without a cent to her name, to a local dress shop to secure dresses for Coretta Scott King to wear at her husband’s funeral. But Clayton, the first Black woman in the South to host their own daily TV show, was always the King whisperer. The person the King family and the Atlanta civil rights community looked to for guidance, calm and protection. So she asked the mortician to do something about the red blob, but he refused, saying that was the best he could do. Clayton went to Mama King, who was dark-skinned, and the wife of Harry Belafonte, who was white, and took their facial powders. “I mixed up a little roux... and we put his handkerchief around Martin’s neck, and I proceeded to tone this down with the powder I mixed up,” Clayton said. “It blended more evenly with the rest of his face and made such a difference. Coretta smiled.” In this 2008 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Clayton candidly talked about those days immediately after the April 4, 1968 assassination of King. Clayton’s conversation was part of an oral history project marking the then 40th anniversary of King’s death. King III was one of 13 people that The AJC sat down with to record their stories and shed light on the life and death of the civil rights leader. We are re-releasing these interviews as a 13-part podcast hosted by Multimedia Journalist Ryon Horne. Along with Clayton, Martin Luther King III, Kathryn Johnson, Tyrone Brooks, Earl Caldwell, Andrew Young, Xernona Clayton and Bernice King, and those who have left us — including Billy Kyle, Juanita Abernathy, Ralph David Abernathy III, the Rev. Joseph Lowery and Congressman John Lewis — each gives us a glimpse, through their relationships with King, inside the making of history. Each episode will be made available through the Unapologetically ATL newsletter, but you can also subscribe to “The Voices of King” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts so you never miss an episode.
Ep. 11: Martin Luther King, III
Jun 9 2022
Ep. 11: Martin Luther King, III
Martin Luther King III had to grow up fast. Maybe too fast. He was 10 years old when his father, Martin Luther King Jr., was murdered on April 4, 1968. At such a young age, the eldest son of the civil rights icon was forced to break away from his shy and inward personality to take on the role of the man of the house. In this 2008 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, King III gave insight into the King household after the tragic death of the family patriarch. Their family was, according to King III, no different from any other American family with the now-immediate challenges of being a one-parent home. Sibling rivalries. Teenage mischief. But perhaps more intriguing is the younger King’s description of who Martin Luther King Jr. was as a father—away from the marches and pulpit. From King’s account, his father was a great pool player, a basketball player and just an all-around fun dad. King IIII’s conversation was part of an oral history project marking the then 40th anniversary of King’s death. King III was one of 13 people that The AJC sat down with to record their stories and shed light on the life and death of the civil rights leader. We are re-releasing these interviews as a 13-part podcast hosted by Multimedia Journalist Ryon Horne. Along with King III, Kathryn Johnson, Tyrone Brooks, Earl Caldwell, Andrew Young, Xernona Clayton and Bernice King, and those who have left us — including Billy Kyle, Juanita Abernathy, Ralph David Abernathy III, the Rev. Joseph Lowery and Congressman John Lewis — each gives us a glimpse, through their relationships with King, inside the making of history. Each episode will be made available through the Unapologetically ATL newsletter, but you can also subscribe to “The Voices of King” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts so you never miss an episode.
Ep. 10: Kathryn Johnson
Jun 2 2022
Ep. 10: Kathryn Johnson
When the whole world wanted the story, it was up to Kathryn Johnson to tell them. “How was Coretta?” “When is the funeral?” “Who has visited the family?” In the hours and days following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Johnson, a veteran reporter for the Associated Press, was the only journalist allowed in the home of Coretta Scott King to tell the family’s story. That was the bond and trust she had established with the King family through her coverage of the Civil Rights Movement and her relationship with Coretta Scott King. The legendary reporter, who died in 2019, talked to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2008 about those hours and days and the history that was unfolding before her. When she arrived at the King house, two reporters were chatting with a police officer on the porch. The front door opened, and Johnson could see Coretta Scott King in a pink nightgown, standing in the hall. “She spotted me and said, ‘Let Kathryn in,’” she recalled. Johnson was at the home every day, giving the AP several scoops. Part of a project marking the then 40th anniversary of King’s death, Johnson was one of 13 people that The AJC sat down with to record their stories and shed light on the life and death of the civil rights leader. We are re-releasing these interviews as a 13-part podcast hosted by Multimedia Journalist Ryon Horne. Along with Johnson, Tyrone Brooks, Earl Caldwell, Andrew Young, Martin Luther King III, Xernona Clayton and Bernice King, and those who have left us — including Billy Kyle, Juanita Abernathy, Ralph David Abernathy III, the Rev. Joseph Lowery and Congressman John Lewis — each gives us a glimpse, through their relationships with King, inside the making of history. Each episode will be made available through the Unapologetically ATL newsletter, but you can also subscribe to “The Voices of King” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts so you never miss an episode.
Ep. 9: Christine King Farris
May 26 2022
Ep. 9: Christine King Farris
Christine King Farris couldn’t force herself to get off the plane. Who could blame her really? The older sister of Martin Luther King Jr. had rushed to Memphis to retrieve the body of her brother after he had been gunned down a day earlier on April 4, 1968. She didn’t want to step foot on the soil where her brother was murdered. In a gripping 2008 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Farris, the last living King sibling, sat down to talk about the last days of her brother and the immediate impact that his death had on the family. Part of a project marking the then 40th anniversary of King’s death, Farris was one of 13 people that The AJC sat down with to record their stories and shed light on the life and death of the civil rights leader. We are re-releasing these interviews as a 13-part podcast hosted by Multimedia Journalist Ryon Horne. Along with Farris, Tyrone Brooks, Earl Caldwell, Andrew Young, Martin Luther King III, Xernona Clayton and Bernice King, and those who have left us — including Billy Kyle, Juanita Abernathy, Ralph David Abernathy III, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, Congressman John Lewis, Kathryn Johnson — each gives us a glimpse, through their relationships with King, inside the making of history. Each episode will be made available through the Unapologetically ATL newsletter, but you can also subscribe to “The Voices of King” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts so you never miss an episode.
Ep. 8: Tyrone Brooks
May 19 2022
Ep. 8: Tyrone Brooks
Tyrone Brooks had never driven so fast in his young life. But there he was in the early morning hours of April 5, 1968, racing toward Memphis in a brand-new white Thunderbird. The 22-year-old was determined to reach the city where Martin Luther King Jr. had just been murdered hours earlier on April 4. The Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, who suddenly became the new president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, had summoned all members to Memphis to quickly strategize the next steps for the organization. When Brooks arrived at 2 a.m., Memphis was burning. Abernathy told the distraught Brooks: “If we loved Martin, we will be committed to fulfilling his dream.” In this 2008 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Brooks sat down to talk about the last days of King and the immediate impact of his death. Part of a project marking the then 40th anniversary of King’s death, Brooks was one of 13 people that The AJC sat down with to record their stories and shed light on the life and death of the civil rights leader. We are re-releasing these interviews as a 13-part podcast hosted by Multimedia Journalist Ryon Horne. Along with Brooks, Earl Caldwell, Andrew Young, Christine King Farris, Martin Luther King III, Xernona Clayton and Bernice King, and those who have left us — including Kyle, Juanita Abernathy, Ralph David Abernathy III, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, Congressman John Lewis, Kathryn Johnson — each gives us a glimpse, through their relationships with King, inside the making of history. Each episode will be made available through the Unapologetically ATL newsletter, but you can also subscribe to “The Voices of King” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts so you never miss an episode.
Ep. 7: Ambassador Andrew Young
May 12 2022
Ep. 7: Ambassador Andrew Young
Andrew Young was still recovering from the pillow fight. In the early evening hours of April 4, Young walked into Martin Luther King Jr.’s room at the Lorraine Motel. Young, one of King’s key lieutenants had spent all day testifying in federal court to get a restraining order lifted on the march in support of Memphis sanitation workers, who had been on strike since early February. When he walked in the door, King mocked agitation and demanded to know where Young had been all day. Young told him that he was “on the witness stand trying to get you the right to march and keep you out of jail.” King threw a pillow at Young. Young threw it back, before he was attacked by King and Ralph David Abernathy. Martin Luther King Jr. responded, “‘Oh, you’re getting smart with me’ and he picked up a pillow and threw it at me,” Young said. “He was in a more playful mood than I had seen him in years, I mean, acting like a child,” Young said. “I threw the pillow back and then everybody else picked up pillows and started beating me up. It was like a bunch of 12-year-olds.” Less than an hour later, King would be dead. Struck down by an assassin’s bullet on the balcony outside of his room. In this 2008 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, to mark what was then the 40th anniversary of King’s death, Young sat down to talk about King’s last hours and his influence. Part of a project marking the then 40th anniversary of King’s death, Young was one of 13 people that The AJC sat down with to record their stories about the civil rights leader’s last days. We are re-releasing these interviews as a 13-part podcast hosted by Multimedia Journalist Ryon Horne. Along with Young, Earl Caldwell, Tyrone Brooks, Christine King Farris, Martin Luther King III, Xernona Clayton and Bernice King, and those who have left us — including Billy Kyles, Juanita Abernathy, Ralph David Abernathy III, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, Congressman John Lewis, Kathryn Johnson — each gives us a glimpse, through their relationships with King, inside the making of history. Each episode will be made available through the Unapologetically ATL newsletter, but you can also subscribe to “The Voices of King” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts so you never miss an episode.
Ep. 6: Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles
May 5 2022
Ep. 6: Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles
They were on their way to dinner. In the early evening hours of April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. stepped out onto the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis to gather his troops. Soon, they would be expected at the home of the Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles for dinner. The prominent pastor of Monumental Baptist Church in Memphis, Kyles had helped organize King’s visit to town. But as they gathered, a shot rang out. In this 2008 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kyles sat down to talk about King’s last hours and his influence. Part of a news project for the 40th anniversary of King’s death, Kyles was one of 13 people that The AJC sat down with to record their stories about the civil rights leader’s last days. We are re-releasing these interviews as a 13-part podcast hosted by Multimedia Journalist Ryon Horne. Along with Earl Caldwell, Andrew Young, Tyrone Brooks, Christine King Farris, Martin Luther King III, Xernona Clayton and Bernice King, and those who have left us — including Kyle, Juanita Abernathy, Ralph David Abernathy III, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, Congressman John Lewis, Kathryn Johnson — each gives us a glimpse, through their relationships with King, inside the making of history. Each episode will be made available through the Unapologetically ATL newsletter, but you can also subscribe to “The Voices of King” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts so you never miss an episode.
Ep. 5: Rep. John Lewis
Apr 28 2022
Ep. 5: Rep. John Lewis
In 2008, on the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s death, John Lewis was one of 13 people that The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sat down with to record their stories.  We are re-releasing these interviews as a 13-part podcast hosted by Multimedia Journalist Ryon Horne called the Voice of King.   Lewis is synonymous with the Civil Rights Movement. In 1965, during a protest in Selma, Alabama, Lewis became the symbol of the assault in Civil Rights when state troopers attacked peaceful marchers near the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The goal of the march was to bring attention to the lack of voting rights in Alabama and across the country for Blacks. The images of Lewis being bludgeoned by a baton by an officer circulated through the living rooms across the country and the events on that day became known forever as Bloody Sunday.  That wasn’t the first time America was introduced to Lewis. In 1963 he was the youngest speaker at the March on Washington. In 1961 Lewis was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders, young activist who wanted to test segregation laws at interstate bus terminals.   Lewis was elected to Congress in November of 1986 as U.S. representative of Georgia’s 5th congressional district.  He never lost an election.  It’s also been recorded that Lewis was arrested 40 times during the Civil Rights Movement and five times as a congressman.  Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2010, it’s safe to say Lewis like most Civil Rights icons has put his time in.   Also appearing in this series are Earl Caldwell, Andrew Young, Tyrone Brooks, Christine King Farris, Martin Luther King III, Xernona Clayton and Bernice King, and those who have left us —Lowery, Juanita Abernathy, Ralph David Abernathy III, the Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles, Kathryn Johnson — each gives us a glimpse, through their relationships with King, inside the making of history. Each episode will be made available through the Unapologetically ATL newsletter, but you can also subscribe to “The Voices of King” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts so you never miss an episode.