SOUTHERN Christian Leadership Conference board threatens to fire King unless he improves as president

Thursday, July 26th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) _ The famed civil rights organization founded by Martin Luther King Jr. is threatening to fire his son as president for failing to breathe new life into the once-vibrant Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Martin Luther King III has been ``insubordinate, obstinate'' and has not raised money for the nonprofit organization during his three-year tenure, SCLC board chairman Claud Young wrote to King in a letter reported in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In late June, the organization placed King on administrative leave, but reinstated him about a week later. The conflict could come to a head at the SCLC's national convention, which begins Aug. 4 in Montgomery, Ala.

King is the SCLC's fourth president. His father was first, taking the reins in 1957.

Critics complain King is too often absent and has not fulfilled hopes that he would restore the SCLC to its civil-rights-era prominence. King has less than a third the staff his father did, and contributions have fallen considerably.

King supporters say SCLC board members, many of whom are comfortable, middle-class blacks, have allowed the organization to atrophy. Many of the 50 board members have held their posts since King's father was in charge.

``Some of the old guard refuses to relate to or work with the younger generation,'' state Rep. Tyrone Brooks said. ``They get on the board and they stay there, they sit there, they just do nothing. They should fighting against poverty, breaking down barriers, not attacking Marty King.''

King did not speak with reporters Wednesday, but released a statement cataloging his accomplishments as president. He mentioned conducting hearings on police brutality, opposing the Confederate battle emblem and starting several new chapters.