WASHINGTON — It was a moment that induced chills for many all across the nation and lit up social media.
At this past weekend's March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s only grandchild made a surprise appearance on the national stage.
Yolanda Renee King, 9, was all smiles and full of confidence as she delivered her lines to a crowd of 800-plus people on the ground marching to end gun violence -- and to people all over the world.
"My grandfather had a dream that his four little children will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character," said the youngest King. "I have a dream that enough is enough. And that this should be a gun-free world, period."
It was immediately clear that Yolanda has inherited her famous grandfather's oratorical skills. But here's where it gets even more amazing: According to her father, Martin Luther King III, the 9-year-old's speech was, for the most part, completely unscripted.
Channel 2's Jovita Moore spoke with King III in Atlanta on Tuesday, where he told Jovita that no one rehearsed Yolanda on what to say and that even he and his wife, Arndrea, were blown away by their daughter's moments in the national spotlight.
"No. No one wrote that for her. No prompting. No script at all," he told Jovita. "I guess that comes from the genes. From dad and mom and her grandmother and grandfather on my wife's side."
King III told Jovita that the family had planned to just be in D.C. for the gun reform rally, and didn't get the call confirming Yolanda as a guest speaker until 8:30 that morning. King III had no idea his daughter would choose to echo his father's infamous "I Have a Dream Speech," and isn't even sure how Yolanda knew the exact words.
"I think she got it from just listening to dad's message. Maybe just listening around the house," he told Jovita. "She just repeated that on her own and then she said 'I've got another message. Enough is enough.'"
King said that the rest of Yolanda's speech is a chant she learned from him and had recited at school events for years: Spread the word. Have you heard? All across the nation. We are going to be a great generation.
But King III said the rest, about living in a gun-free society, was all Yolanda's own words.
He says that, in fact, the gun issue isn't new for his daughter. When President Barack Obama invited the family to visit two years ago during his last few months in office, King III and his wife instructed a then-7-year-old Yolanda to come up with one question for the president.
"She says 'Mr. President, I want to ask you a question. What are you going to do about these guns?'," King III said. "Now that's two years ago. Long before Parkland and some of the other incidents. So this is something that is not new."
King III told Jovita that he thinks Yolanda's aversion to guns is something that is just 'inside of her." Fitting, perhaps, for a child who lost the grandfather she never met to a gunshot.
King III said he and his wife are incredibly proud of their daughter for what she was able to do in D.C.
"It was spectacular. That's a moment that I will always remember," King III said. "Arndrea and I are just beyond proud of what she was able to convey."
Cox Media Group