Yolanda Denise King was an activist and the first-born child of Coretta Scott King and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. She was known to for her artistic endeavors and public speaking. Her childhood was riddled with influence from her father's activism, which she did not understand as a child. Her mother often explained the importance of his exploits. Her birth was two weeks before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus. She experienced threats to her life, often directed at her only to intimidate her parents. She became a secondary caregiver to her younger siblings once they were born and was bullied at school because of her father being jailed.
On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. King, only twelve years old at the time, was noted for her composure following his death. She joined her mother and siblings in a march and accompanied her mother to City Hall on her own terms. She was given sympathies from figures such as Bill Cosby and Harry Belafonte, the latter setting a trust fund for her and her siblings.
In her teenage years, she became an effective leader of her class in high school and was given attention by the magazines Jet and Ebony. Her teenage years were filled with more tragedies, specifically that of her uncle Alfred Daniel Williams King. While in high school, she gained lifelong friends. It was the first and only institution where King was not harassed or mistreated because of who her father was. However, she was still misjudged and mistrusted based on perceptions completely founded by her relationship with her father. Despite this, King managed to keep up her grades and was actively involved in political manners at the school, serving as her class president for two years. King aroused controversy in high school for her role in a play. She was credited with having her father's sense of humor.