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State leaders, loved ones say goodbye to civil rights icon, educator Christine King Farris

By Mariya Murrow

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    ATLANTA, Georgia (WANF) — Lawmakers and loved ones gathered at the Georgia State Capitol to remember the life and legacy of civil rights icon and educator Dr. Christine King Farris.

Escorted by the Georgia State Patrol Honor Guard, Farris arrived at the capitol’s rotunda Friday morning, becoming the fourth Black Georgian to lie in state under the Gold Dome.

During her memorial service Friday afternoon, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp called the eldest sister of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a beloved Georgian, a history maker and a proud community leader.

“She had a profound impact on her brothers, as all big sisters do,” Kemp said. “I would even venture to say that without her the boy that would grow up to become a legendary civil rights leader, whose memory continues to inspire people around the world even today, would have had a different path in life.”

Farris not only helped build The King Center but served as a founding board member and long-time volunteer. She also wrote the first intermediate-level textbook on her brother and was the first director of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Early Learning Center.

“Dr. Farris was the epitome of excellence,” State Senator Gail Davenport (D-44) said. “She was a superb educator — a teacher of teachers.”

Farris began her teaching career in the Atlanta Public Schools system. After serving eight years, she returned to her alma mater, Spelman, and became one of the college’s longest-serving tenured professors.

“Georgia is better because she passed our way,” Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock said.

Friday’s memorial service included a musical performance by Saxophonist Kimberly McKinney and a benediction delivered by Rev. Bernice King.

Among those in attendance were members of the Farris’ family: son, Isaac Newton Farris, Jr., and niece, Reverand Dr. Bernice King.

Farris will lie in state in Georgia’s Capitol Rotunda until 7 p.m. A reflection of her faith ceremony is set to be held Saturday at the Ebenezer Baptist Church Heritage Sanctuary, followed by reflections on her life and legacy, which will take place Sunday.

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