Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a towering figure in the civil rights movement and the fight for racial equality, but he was also a big kid at heart who would be both impressed and sad about the path America has taken nearly 45 years after his death.

Monday is the federal holiday honoring Dr. King, who would now be 84 years old if he were alive today. He was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968. In connection with her uncle’s birthday, Angela Farris Watkins is releasing a new book of family memories titled, “Martin Luther King, Jr.: A King Family Tribute.” Watkins is the daughter of King’s sister, Willie Christine King.

Watkins spoke at length about her childhood memories about Dr. King, but she also explained how her uncle would look upon the 45 years since his death with mixed emotions.

“I think he would be very proud of the progress that we’ve made, but he would also be very saddened by the prevalence of violence,” Watkins told WND. “He would want to continue writing, speaking, preaching about the power of nonviolence and the power of infusing love into our society and how much more power that offers us. I think he would have mixed emotions, again some pride but also wanting to push us forward to be better.”

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