Atlanta . . . The King Center CEO, Bernice A. King, today issued the following statement in response to the Friendship 9 being exonerated:
King Center CEO, Dr. Bernice A. King quoted her father in remarks following the historical exoneration of the “Friendship 9” today in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Using her father’s words, she proclaimed, “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
She said that today was a victory for nonviolence and affirmation that nonviolence works. She went on to say that today is also a victory for dignity and race relations in America. The CEO emphasized that it was critically important that people understood that by reversing the convictions of these nine courageous individuals, Circuit Court Justice John C. Hayes, III was not only correcting a terrible injustice, but restoring the dignity of each of these men, including one posthumously.
The King Center played an important role in helping today’s event to take place. Mrs. Kimberly Johnson was encouraged by Dr. Bernice A. King to participate in The King Center’s Nonviolence Opportunity Watch (N.O.W) Encounter, this past summer, which is one of The King Center’s premier Nonviolence 365 education and training initiatives. Mrs. Johnson did so and was inspired when she read Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” to address the issue of unjust laws. In her remarks, Bernice A. King noted that “The court’s decision to vacate the “Friendship 9’s” convictions and sentences speaks volumes to those who are speaking up for truth, justice and righteousness in our country and the world.”
For more information, please call (404) 526-8944. To see a video of Ms. King's statement to the media, click HERE.