3 Dexter Scott King Facts

Isaac Newton Farris Jr
14 min readFeb 14, 2024

Since my cousin/brother Dexter Scott King transitioned on January 22, 2024, many things have been written and said about his life. As his cousin/brother and the closest family member to him except for his superwoman-wife Leah, it’s my duty to reveal the following 3 facts to those who don’t know and to reiterate them to those who think they know.

Fact 1 Dex didn’t die of prostate cancer because he foolishly ignored or refused traditional medical intervention: Anyone who truly knew Dexter Scott King, knows that Dex would not go to the bathroom in his own home without first having a thoroughly researched plan on the best route to take to get there. That’s how meticulous, some might say annul, he was in everything he did. Before Dex would attempt anything, involve himself in anything, or offer an opinion about anything Dex’s standard operating procedure was to first avail himself of all possible knowledge on the matter. He definitely availed himself of all possible alternative and holistic medical knowledge, both the good and the bad, and he definitely applied the use of his vast knowledge of alternative and holistic medicine in his lifestyle and his healthcare regimen. Thanks to his generosity in sharing his vast alternative and holistic medical knowledge I and many in our family are experiencing extremely more healthy healthcare realities than those of similar age.

So of course the first thing Dex did when he noticed issues with his health was to avail himself of a traditional medical diagnosis. The diagnosis was an enlarged prostate. Dex followed the recommended treatment while combining it with the use of supplements that his vast knowledge of alternative and holistic medicine made him aware of, the symptoms disappeared and for 4 months it appeared everything had returned to a healthy norm. After the symptoms returned Dex returned for another traditional medical diagnosis. This time he was told that the original diagnosis of an enlarged prostate was incorrect, and what he truly had was prostate cancer which now 4 months later had metastasized to stage 4 terminal cancer.

Dex was also told this second time that the only thing traditional medicine could do for him at that point was offer great hospice recommendations. Dex made us, the family, aware of his first diagnosis, unfortunately, he moved heaven and earth to deny everyone except his superwoman-wife Leah knowledge of the second terminal diagnosis.

Thanks to his vast knowledge of alternative and holistic medicine Dex bought himself, bought superwoman-wife Leah, and bought me and the rest of the family 3 1/2 more years of life with him. I know no one who lived an additional 3 ½ years with stage 4 terminal cancer, not only was he able to live 3 1/2 years longer, but he did so while being able to successfully hide the facts from us who were still seeing and talking to him, it was not until the last months of his life that he cleverly avoided any of us from seeing him.

When Dex did not show up last July for my mother’s funeral we all began to suspect something but unfortunately, none of us guessed the severity of his health condition, I was selfishly consumed in grieving over the recent loss of my mother, so although I had decided that I would follow up on my suspicions by making an unannounced visit to his Malibu home, I delayed in making the trip, my failure to do so will always be the biggest regret of my life.

While he cleverly stopped allowing people to see him he used the phone and email to continue conducting the business of the King Estate. His brother Martin was a participant with Dex on a business conference call a week before his death, according to Martin there was no sign in Dex’s demeanor and no sign in the tone or strength of his voice of any health issue.

Superwoman-wife Leah has now revealed to us that Dex endured a lot of pain in the final months. Because he used pain medication at a bare minimum so he could remain lucid enough to do the business of the King Estate. It’s no surprise Dex did this because that’s who he was, our great protector who always willingly took the hits for his family.

Fact 2 the lawsuit was never about theft or misappropriation of money: The infamous lawsuit Martin and Bernice brought against Dex was never about money, it was about control, they were suing Dex for control of the King Estate. The news media sensationalized the case by portraying it as a case of siblings fighting over money, nothing could be further from the truth, and nothing in Dex’s life hurt him more than to be publically falsely accused of stealing from his family. For over 10 years, Dex successfully ran the King Estate with a completely free hand and never developed true patience or diplomacy muscles in dealing with the other shareholders, his siblings.

Dex was able to do this because he produced profits every year for shareholders and because the person who chose Dex to manage the King Estate, his mother Coretta Scott King, always quelled any questions among his siblings. Aunt Coretta chose Dex and always quelled any questions about Dex’s leadership because she realized, what I alone among the rest of Dex’s immediate and extended family realized, and that was while the rest of us, Aunt Coretta included, were playing checkers, Dex was always playing chess. His brilliance was light years ahead of everyone else in the King Farris family. But Dex’s brilliance did not make him perfect and over time he had gotten a bit autocratic in his administrative management of the King Estate’s business, but continued to always be democratic in his distributions to his siblings of the King Estate’s profits. Dex was making some major non-monetary decisions without consulting his fellow shareholder siblings.

He continued this practice after Aunt Coretta transitioned in 2006 because he remembered his perfect record of having every past decision he made, that was challenged or questioned by his siblings, always proven to be correct, he remembered his perfect record of producing a profit every year, and he remembered he had a perfect record of increasing profits every year. Unfortunately, what Dex forgot was that his perfect records and “Shut up and cash the check” would no longer work, because Aunt Coretta was no longer alive to quell the natives. In Dex’s mind as far as the King Estate business was concerned since it ain’t broke don’t fix it, in Martin and Bernice’s mind it’s broken and needs to be fixed, negotiations failed so Martin and Bernice took the next step of Kingian nonviolence, and sought 3rd party judicial intervention, as they had seen their father do many times in his life, for all of you who criticized and wondered aloud how Dr. King’s children could ever wind up in court.

Predictably the court did the right thing, which was to say to Dex regardless of your perfect record of managing the King Estate and the consistently great profits you are producing, majority rules and 2 of the 3 King Estate shareholders have voted to take control from you, therefore this court orders you to relinquish it. Even though the case was not about money the Judge, presumably reacting to the media’s false portrayal of it being about money, stated clearly in his ruling that Dex did not commit any financial improprieties.

Before the ink was dry on the Judge’s decision to grant Martin and Bernice control of the King Estate, LITERALLY the first thing Martin and Bernice did was beg Dexter to take back control of the King Estate, because the detailed examination of all the facts that the trial produced, made Martin and Bernice truly realize for the first time that while they are playing checkers Dex is playing chess. Dex after going through what for him at the time was the most embarrassing and the most painful ordeal of his life, graciously accepted Martin and Bernice’s plea to return to service because that’s who Dex was, our family’s great protector willing to take all hits from all places in order to protect us all.

Fact 3 Dexter was not doing what Coretta Scott King told him to do, Dexter was doing what Martin Luther King Jr told him to do: For everyone who has asked “ Why is Dexter being so difficult, why is he insisting that I must be issued a license when all I’m trying to do is honor his father and continue his work”. Dex was following instructions left by his father Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Uncle ML HIMSELF, not Aunt Coretta, and certainly not Dex copyrighted his I Have A Dream Speech back in 1963. Uncle ML successfully sued 20th Century Fox to stop them from selling unauthorized copies of his Dream speech, so when Dex successfully sued CBS and USA Today in the 1990s to prevent them from using Uncle ML’s words without a license, Dex was simply doing what his father would have done, what his father wanted and expected his family to do.

Uncle ML took steps to protect his Intellectual Property Rights before his 1963 Dream speech, he wanted to stop bootleg copies of earlier sermons he had given from being sold illegally. One in particular, Martin Luther King at Zion Hill, bothered him greatly. Not because the company wasn’t paying any royalties to him or his organization SCLC, but because the quality of the recording was so poor Uncle ML felt it was not a proper use of his words. The proper spiritual use of his words, not the potential royalties they could generate, was the initial and main reason Uncle ML sought to control the use of his name, image, and words.

When Uncle ML focused on the monetary aspect of his intellectual property he decided that while he lived all book royalties, all audio royalties, and all speech honorariums would go primarily to his Auburn Ave organization SCLC, or other civil rights organizations, and not one cent of the royalties would go to Sunset Ave, his home. Just as Uncle ML dictated what should happen with his intellectual property during his lifetime he also dictated what should happen with it during his death-time.

Uncle ML knew after he died the only source of income that housed, fed, and clothed his family, his salary as co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, would no longer exist, so he decided after he died his intellectual property should be primarily used to replace the income to his family he was no longer alive to provide. He dictated this knowing that his family would not only use the royalty income to support themselves, but also to fund the continuation of his life work as they do through the Martin Luther King Jr. Center For Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center) the organization founded by his wife Coretta, and through Realizing The Dream the organization founded by his son Martin Luther King 3rd.

Dex accepted both the responsibility of protecting the intellectual property that his father established, and for ensuring that his father’s intellectual property be used for the purposes that his father dictated. That’s why after Dex took over leadership of the King Estate the first thing he did was create a no-exception license requirement. This meant everybody including family had to be licensed to make use of Uncle ML’s intellectual property. Even Aunt Coretta had to get a permission license from the King Estate to use her husband’s intellectual property. After Dexter took over he made the King Center, the organization his mother founded to continue his father’s life work and who had been using Uncle ML’s name, image, and words for years with no license, apply for a license to continue to use his father’s intellectual property.

In the family meeting where Dex informed us all of the new no-exception license policy, he explained that if and when he had to take legal action against someone or some corporation for using Uncle ML’s intellectual property without permission, he did not want them to be able to cite as a legal defense any example where Uncle ML’s intellectual property was used without permission.

That’s why 90% of the licenses Dex granted required NO FEE, his insistence on licensing everyone and everything using Uncle ML’s intellectual property was not about generating income it was about protecting his family’s right to control the use of Uncle ML’s intellectual property, because as long as the family controls the use of Uncle ML’s name, image, and words the integrity of his name, image, and words are guaranteed and maintained.

The only time a license fee is required to use Uncle ML’s name, image, and words is when it is being used to generate income, as Dex would say “ If you are making a dollar from King then the King Estate is entitled to a minimum of a dime of that dollar “.

A good example of how Dex was guided by control and integrity and not license fees, a company approached Dex seeking a license to sell a line of Martin Luther King Jr. suits. Dex was initially very receptive to the idea for 2 reasons, one while his father lived he was a customer of the company they made his favorite style of shoes he wore with his business suits. And even though the company was not known for suits in the 1960s Uncle ML did use their socks, handkerchiefs, and cufflinks. Two Dex knew his father was known from childhood to always possess both a stylish dress and casual wardrobe.

The company’s first proposal granted the King Estate pre-approval of all suit styles and stated the percentage that would be paid to the King Estate for each suit sold. Dex responded by saying pre-approval of suit styles was an automatic non-negotiable given, and the two things he needed to know before he considered whether or not the percentage for each suit sold was appropriate, was what type of material all suits would be made of and where would the suits be manufactured. Dex made clear that any suit bearing his father’s name could not be made of cheap polyester, therefore the King Estate would have to pre-approve the material and its thread count for each suit, and since he had researched the company and discovered that none of their suits were made in America, the King Estate would have to approve of where King suits would be made, because no suit bearing his father’s name could be manufactured using slave or underpaid labor.

The company responded with an agreement granting the King Estate pre-approval on material and thread count for each suit, and a huge increase for the percentage to be paid to the King Estate for each suit sold. Dex responded sounds good but what about King Estate pre-approval of where the suits would be made? Unfortunately, pre-approval on where the King suits would be made was a bridge too far for the company, and although the company agreed to pre-approval on style, materials, and thread count along with a greatly increased percentage for each suit sold, no pre-approval on where King suits would be made was a bridge too far for Dex, hence no Martin Luther King Jr. suits.

The previous words were written to and for readers, the next words are written to and for my boy Dex.

Doc I know as you read this column every privacy button in your body is triggered, I would remind you of your principle 1) learn the truth, proclaim the truth, and walk boldly in and with the truth, and your principle 2) silence is betrayal. Doc it would be a betrayal to your logic, to your integrity, to your successes, and to your healthcare regimen to let you leave earth without proclaiming your truth. You were a Prince among humankind, the Prince with the MLK look, the Prince with the MLK philosophy, the Prince with the MLK logic and strategy, and the Prince with the MLK swagger and charisma you could have snatched the crown had you wanted it, but as you would say “ Ike I don’t get off on wearing the crown I get off on protecting the crown

Doc that’s just what you have done, not only did protect the crown you have secured it for our family’s future generations. You have left us the perfect roadmap to follow and follow it we shall, as Bernice said at your Memorial service we will build your dream, The King Dream Edutainment Center, with all the latest interactive technology possible.

Doc I comfort myself by knowing when you transitioned on January 22nd Uncle ML, Aunt Coretta, Yolanda, Granddaddy, Big Mama, Mother, Daddy, Uncle AD, AL, Darlene, and Vernon all greeted you at Heaven’s Gate. By now I imagine you have hooked up with Ralph 3rd, let Ab know I miss him every day. I would say save my usual spot among us 3, but Doc since I am not one-tenth of the man you were I don’t if I can make it to where you are now. That’s why I always clung so closely to you hoping just a little bit of your greatness would infect me, I didn’t need to touch it I was honored just to be near the hem of your garment. Doc it won’t surprise you that I have done my usual and dug up one that I think meets the moment, I am particularly proud to borrow the words of Robert Frost because I think it perfectly sums up your great life, here goes:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

Doc your boldness in taking the King Legacy Protection road not taken, your intelligence in taking the King Legacy Integrity road not taken, and your determination despite all the criticism in taking the King Legacy Economic road not taken, has made all the difference for the King legacy and the King Farris family for not only our generation, but for all King Farris generations yet unborn.

Job complete, job well done rest in peace and victory my sweet Prince Dexter Scott King

Isaac Newton Farris Jr. is the nephew of Martin Luther King, Jr. and serves as Senior Fellow at the King Center. Growing up in one of the most socially and politically active families has given him a unique perspective on current events. Drop by his website for straight talk free of one-sided political spin.

Originally published at https://isaacnewtonfarris.com on February 14, 2024.



Isaac Newton Farris Jr

Isaac Newton Farris Jr. is the nephew of Martin Luther King, Jr. and serves as Senior Fellow at the King Center.