Northern Ireland news

Martin Luther King's son compares John Hume to his father

Last night's lecture by Martin Luther King 111 was the inaugural event of the new John and Pat Hume Foundation.
Seamus McKinney

THE son of murdered US civil rights’ leader Dr Martin Luther King has compared John Hume to his father in an inaugural lecture given to mark a new foundation set up in memory of the former SDLP leader.

The John and Pat Hume Foundation, which was launched last week, is a cross-community project which aims to nurture the legacy of Mr Hume and his wife Pat and to encourage and help those seeking to bring about peaceful change.

Mr Hume, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and prominent politician throughout the years of the Troubles, died in August at the age of 83 following some years of ill-health.

Mr King introduced his inaugural lecture by paying tribute to Mr Hume who he said was dedicated to the same principles as his father who was assassinated in 1968.

“I know from my visit to Derry in 2013 how much my father, Martin Luther King Junior was an inspiration to John and Pat from the early days of the civil rights in Northern Ireland and to achieving lasting peace in Ireland,” Mr King, a US human rights advocate said.

Foundation chairman Sean Farren, a former SDLP assembly member, said it was fitting that the inaugural event linked Mr and Mrs Hume to Martin Luther King and the US civil rights movement.

Dr Farren said: “John frequently acknowledged the inspiration that movement (the US movement) provided to the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland.

The Foundation’s partner for last night’s lecture was Politics in Action, an organisation which seeks to give young people a voice on political and social issues.

Spokesman, Peter Weil recalled meeting Mr Hume at a current affairs society meeting at Methodist College in 1968.

Mr Weil said that despite protests outside the school, Mr Hume’s address was “magical”.

The next event organised by the Foundation will be a virtual shared home place discussion on “Unfinished Business of Reconciliation” next Tuesday at 7pm. It will be released through a number of social media platforms.

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