The Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Nonviolence, Inc. was founded by Honorable Dr. C. DeLores Tucker and a group of local leaders in 1983, 17 years after the assassination of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Mr. Waverly Easley, then President of the Philadelphia Tribune and a stalwart supporter, was the first to respond. He provided the office space and organizational support during the beginning years. Many of the early leaders had personally known Dr. King and had been inspired by his works and messages. Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, knew that Philadelphia held a special place in her husband’s heart and thought it fitting to have a permanent organization dedicated to his ideals of peace and freedom in the City of Brotherly Love. The King Association, a 501(c)(3) organization, is the only affiliate commissioned by Mrs. King and the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia to promote and perpetuate the nonviolent legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Philadelphia has and continues to enjoy a unique and historic role in the life of Dr. King and his memory. The last office he opened before his assassination was opened here in an office given to him by Mr. William Tucker, the husband of C. DeLores Tucker and current President of the King Association. The last fund-raising gala “Stars for Freedom” was held at the Spectrum in 1967 and was chaired by C. DeLores Tucker. . The King Association, was originally founded to develop programs in the Northeast region of the United States and to serve as a pioneering model for future programs in other parts of the nation. In 1984, the year after the Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday was officially enacted, President Ronald Reagan appointed Mrs. Coretta Scott King and then-Governor of New Jersey Thomas Kean, to chair the King Federal Holiday Commission, which was charged with determining how the holiday was to be observed. Mrs. King’s vision was to have the holiday commence each year at noon with the ringing of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia--a worldwide symbol of freedom, justice, and equality--echoed by bells throughout the world, including those in Big Ben in London and in the Vatican. Since then, every King holiday commences with the ringing of the Liberty Bell at 12:00 noon at Independence Hall in memory of Dr. King. This is held during a National Ceremony hosted by the King Association. In 1985, Pennsylvania’s then Governor, Richard Thornburgh designated the Association as the Commonwealth’s official resource center on civil rights and nonviolence. Over the years, the Association has grown to produce an active, year-round schedule of programs and activities that amplify the teachings and principles espoused by Dr. King. Through the myriad of activities, people of all ages learn about the significance of Dr. King’s works and how to incorporate Kingian principles into their own lives to make a positive difference. The Association works with area educators, corporations, business, social organizations, and religious and community groups, as well as the general public. The Association seeks to develop and present related curricular, extracurricular and informational programs and events within the general community and to develop leadership in working toward the prevention of “nonviolent social change” in all walks of life. We are committed to addressing pertinent social issues to reduce tension and violence in the Delaware Valley Community.Our current program efforts are focused on the development of Kingian principles through our yearlong academic and youth development programs while teaching principles of violence prevention, particularly at a time like now, when violence among youth in our city is rampart.
The mission of the King Association is to preserve and advance the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., through educating, interpreting, advocating and promoting nonviolent theory and philosophy. The Association works with schools, colleges and universities, with corporations and business organizations, with religious and community groups as well as the general public.