Son of civil rights icon says congressional filibuster ‘must go’

SEATTLE — The son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. says President Joe Biden should work to amend the filibuster rule to pave the way for passage of a new voting rights bill.

Martin Luther King III made those remarks, capping off a three-day celebration of the 60th anniversary of his father’s only visit to Seattle.

King will wrap up his visit at the University of Washington, where his father spoke back in 1961.

When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. arrived in Seattle on Nov. 8th., 1961, his visit was controversial. The First Presbyterian Church rescinded its offer to speak in its sanctuary.

Sixty years later, there is no controversy about his son’s visit, but he isn’t afraid to stir up a little controversy of his own.

“There is nothing more important that we can be focused on at this time than the expansion of voting rights,” said Martin Luther King III.

He bears the name of an iconic figure in American history, and he is not shy about the using the platform that the name affords him to make a point that he says is crucial to a free and fair democracy, the unfettered right to vote.

“And so that’s why last week, I was in Washington. My wife and daughter and I were arrested at the White House,” said Martin Luther King III, to applause. “We were arrested because we were talking about the expansion of the right to vote. And I am going to go on and say, I think the filibuster must go.”

He says Congress has already used that political procedure to prevent a voting rights bill from coming to the floor.

“What kind of democracy is it where you can’t even discuss something which is fundamental to all of us, which is the right to vote?,” he asked.

The Northwest African American Museum hosted King to honor and highlight the power of his father’s legacy. King spoke fondly of local icon Rev. Samuel B. McKinney, the late pastor and former classmate who first invited his father to Seattle.

“And in fact, mom (Coretta Scott King) used to confer with him from time to time on various issues,” Martin Luther King III said. “I remember that.”

King’s visit will end here at the University of Washington with a keynote address.