Alveda King: How I Failed Nelson Mandela

Alveda King
Alveda King

At the passing of Nelson Mandela, I am acknowledging that he was a humanitarian who gave his life to ending apartheid in South Africa and human racism on this planet.

His efforts to do so, especially when he was a young man, certainly included horrendous acts of violence. He and his wife were “vigilantes for freedom.” Their methods of warfare were designed to match and overpower the inhumane tactics of their oppressors. President Mandela was jailed for many years for his “war crimes.”

Young Nelson and Winnie Mandela were radical rebels and following very much in the philosophy of, say, a Malcolm X, who said we must obtain freedom “by any means necessary.”

When I was a young civil rights freedom fighter, we had to deal with Alabama Gov. George Wallace. He was a virulent monster of a man who approved the lynching, burning and bombing of African Americans during those days. I lived in “Bombingham,” where our family home was bombed by hateful people who didn’t want black people to be free.

There are pictures of historical accounts of George Wallace standing right there and saying that he hated people if they had black skin or brown skin. And he wanted to keep us out and called us bad names. But Jesus Christ came into his life, and he repented, and he said that he was wrong.

There was another one, Bull Conner, who reminds me of the same hateful spirit that was driving Adolf Hitler. He lived as a terror, and he is remembered as a terror today. On the one hand, Wallace recanted. On other hand, Adolph Hitler was never jailed for killing millions of Jews, and his horrible eugenics and genocidal practices are alive today.

Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood considered Adolf Hitler to be her muse. Unsuspecting people have embraced abortion and killing contraceptives because the slick marketing campaigns of Hitler and Sanger are still alive today. I was once a victim of Planned Parenthood and was once pro-choice. I didn’t sanction the killing of millions of babies, but I did have two secret abortions. I later repented and now am a voice for the lives of babies and their mothers, the sick and the elderly.

There was another man, John Newton, who wrote the song "Amazing Grace." He was a friend and mentor of William Wilberforce and William Penn. He was bringing black people—African people—transcontinental and bringing them to be sold into the slave trade. It was lucrative, and he was making money. It was horrible, and yet when the spirit of the living God got his attention, reminding him of the love and mercy of Jesus Christ, he repented and wrote a song that says, “I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.” A wretch like him, his life was transformed.

Again, I had abortions myself. I was pro-choice at one time in my life. I came to my senses. I repented and turned away from the lies. I was blind and now I see.

The apostle Paul was blinded as far as his mind and his actions were concerned when his name was Saul. And he killed Christians. He was there at the stoning of St. Stephen. And yet, on the way to Damascus, his physical sight was taken from him when he was confronted—when he was riding his donkey on the Damascus road. And he became one of the greatest apostles that the world has known and remembered, and we thank God for the ministry of apostle Paul.

Over the years, Mr. Mandela began to become seasoned; humility came into his life, and at 95 years of age, I believe he was a totally different man than the young man who was doing everything he could to ending apartheid but was giving back as good as he got or as bad as it was.

While he sanctioned abortion during his presidency, he was perhaps like me and millions of others who were once deceived into believing that abortion and harmful contraceptives would help our people. I wish I had told him the truth. I didn’t know the truth when I met him in the early 1970s. So I failed him. I didn’t speak to him about our babies.

What is happening now in the battle to end human injustice, to stop man’s inhumanity to man, whether we are women, men or little children, is occurring on a divided battleground. Some battle against racism, based upon skin color or class or rank. Some battle against reproductive genocide, and that is certainly appropriate as well, wherein we fight for the lives of the little babies in the womb, their mothers, the sick and the elderly and demand that they be treated with equality, justice, mercy and agape love. And then some battle against sexual perversion. That in itself also is a very important fight.

Now, if we can see that we are battling a three-headed hydra monster—racism, reproductive genocide and sexual perversion—and get to the heart of those matters and fight them all together with the understanding that we can overcome evil with good, then at the death of someone like a Nelson Mandela, some of us would not feel as though he should just be totally lambasted, ostracized, cast out of history and considered to be one of the most terrible people that ever lived.

And so I do acknowledge the work of President Nelson Mandela. He confronted apartheid, a serious evil during his lifetime. He did some things that were not good. And we pray that he had an opportunity to meet his Maker before he left the planet and that he was able to reconcile those differences.

I feel that I failed President Nelson Mandela because when I actually met him around 1970, when he was released and he came to America, he visited the Martin Luther King Center. I was pro-choice at that time—ended up having a second abortion and a miscarriage related to the harmful contraceptives and all of that.

But over the years, I became pro-life, after which I became repentantly pro-life. I wish now that I had reached out to President Nelson Mandela. I wish that in the 1990s, when he was signing legislation that was going to cause millions or at least hundreds of thousands of babies to be aborted, I wish I had gotten Maafa 21 to him and Blood Money to him. Of course, these films had not been produced at that time, but a little later they and many other great truth- and life-revealing films have been released.

I feel that I failed him by not reaching out to him and trying to get with him and sit down and have a talk about my transformation, how I came from thinking that it was OK to abort a child to knowing that it was wrong because that’s a sacred human life. I failed, but I pray that I don’t fail millions of others, and I pray that that message will continue to resonate across the globe.

So, I thank God for Jesus, for redemption, for an opportunity to acknowledge the good deeds of people and to pray and repent for not giving them information that I had that could transform their thinking, prick their hearts and cause them to include the unborn in their battles.

Alveda C. King is the daughter of the late civil-rights activist the Rev. A.D. King and niece of Martin Luther King Jr. She is also a civil rights and pro-life activist, as well as director of the African-American outreach for Priests for LifeClick here to visit her blog.

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