top of page

Dr. Naomi Ruth Barber-King's Life and Legacy Celebrated

In a heartwarming homage to a remarkable legacy, the King family said farewell to their matriarch, Dr. Naomi Ruth Barber-King. Dr. Barber-King's passing marks not only the end of an era but also a profound transition in the ongoing narrative of civil rights activism.

The ceremony reminded those in attendance that the King family has given sons and daughters as martyrs to the cause of freedom and justice. The celebration of life was held at Atlanta's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, a sanctuary steeped in the King family legacy. It is the church where Dr. Barber-Ruth met her husband, the late A.D. King.  Martin Luther King, Sr. (Daddy King) and Martin Luther King, Jr. both pastored the church. It was at Ebenezer where tragedy struck the King family, with the fatal shooting of Naomi Barber-King's mother-in-law, Alberta King, while she played the piano.

“My mother’s commitment to honor Christ with every fiber of her being is her greatest legacy.  Her faith in the Lord is my family’s most treasured inheritance,” said Dr. Alveda King daughter of Dr. Barber-King.  “Her activism to heal the broken bonds of communities across the world was based on the Biblical truth that we are one blood, one human race.”

Dr. Barber-King's unwavering commitment to unity in Christ has been her life's work and was a continuation of the enduring legacies of her late husband, A.D. King, and her brother-in-law, Martin Luther King Jr. 

This commitment found concrete expression when she founded the A.D. King Foundation in 2008—a non-violent conflict resolution organization dedicated to instilling principles of peace and Christ-centered social change worldwide. Embracing a vision of youth empowerment and non-violent activism, the foundation stands as a beacon of hope in a world often marred by conflict and strife. 

Fondly known as the "Butterfly Queen," Dr. Barber-King's children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and friends wore butterfly lapel pins to remember her and honor her legacy. 

Dr. Barber-King was preceded in death by her daughter Darlene King and her sons, Alfred King II and Vernon King. She is survived by her daughter, Dr. Alveda King and her son, Pastor Derek King.

After the official ceremony family and friends joined her children Dr. Alveda King and Pastor Derek King in a celebration at the King Center where butterflies were released in Dr. Barber-King’s memory. Dozens of communities from across the world sent proclamations saluting her life and service to the causes of non-violence and unity. 


bottom of page