Nephew of Martin Luther King Jr. commemorates his legacy


COLORADO SPRINGS — A civil rights icon, but to Isaac Newton Farris Jr., he was just a man.

“My memories of him are playing with him, riding bikes, you know, he was a very human individual,” Farris Jr. said.

Farris, Jr. came to Colorado Springs for two days giving presentations on his uncle to adults and kids in hopes of spreading a simple message.

Isaac Newton Farris Jr. speaks about his uncle when he knew him. Credit: Michael Duran

“They don’t have to be a preacher in order to be like Dr. King. They don’t have to be a great speaker. They don’t have to be black to be like Dr. King. All they need is an ability and a willingness to serve,” he said.

In his presentation, Farris, Jr. said Dr. King’s teachings are still relevant today but for different reasons.

“We’re getting ready to truly be the melting pot that we speculated or talked about for generations. That’s getting ready to happen now. So we’ve got to learn how to get a long with each other,” he said.

While as a kid, Farris, Jr. said he had no idea what that his uncle was such a prominent leader.

Farris Jr. said in the time that he knew his uncle, he never knew what Dr. King was up to. Credit: File

“In some respects I might have thought of him as the crazy uncle,” he said. “He was always the uncle that came late. When he got there, a lot of time he’s have to take a nap on my bed in my room. And so, as a young kid I didn’t know what was going on, but I was like why is he always coming late, and why does he always have to go to sleep?”

He said he hopes that Dr. King’s legacy can inspire others to make a change in their community.

“This is not about black right or white rights… this is about human rights. His dream was for everyone. His principles are for everyone. You know, we’re entering a phase in America now where we’re really going to have to fall back on that, or we will lose our democracy,” Farris Jr. said.

In his presentation, Farris Jr. said he hopes people can take MLK day and use it to do acts of service. Credit: Michael Duran

Farris, Jr. said he hopes that people will use MLK Jr. day to honor his memory by using the holiday to participate in acts of kindness of any size, which he said he believes is what his uncle would have wanted.

Farris Jr. spoke at Pikes Peak Library District Library 21c and Abrams Elementary School on Thursday, Jan. 13.

On Friday, he will be giving his presentation in the Mitchell High School Auditorium from 9:30 a.m.-10:55 a.m.

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