King's Daughter Urges Students To Get Involved

MIAMI - It was a mixture of poetry, drama, biting commentary and wit.

The eldest daughter of civil-rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. drew from each element during her speech yesterday at a school that had been a civil-rights battleground late in her father's life.

"I am a 100 percent, dyed-in-the-wool, card-carrying believer in the dream," Yolanda King told a rapt audience at Florida Memorial College. "I choose to believe. You can, too."

King, 42, lamented what she called complacency and apathy among many Americans with regard to social issues. She exhorted the audience to service.

"My father would be disturbed if he knew that people were taking the day off in his memory to do nothing," she said. "Get involved. It's about service, not shopping."

The Rev. King had a special connection to the school. He spoke at the campus, which was originally located in St. Augustine, in the late 1960s when student protests had drawn unfavorable public attention to the school. Things were so tense that King and others suggested the school move to its current site in Miami.

Yolanda King, who works as an actress and teacher, visited the campus as part of a lecture series.

She appears in the current Rob Reiner film, "Ghosts of Mississippi," which is about the murder of Medgar Evers. King plays the daughter of the slain civil-rights leader.