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Trayvon Hoodie on MLK Image Goes Viral, Draws Ire From King's Niece

By Clyde Hughes   |   Wednesday, 17 Jul 2013 01:19 PM

An image of Martin Luther King Jr. in a hoodie similar to the one Trayvon Martin wore the night he was shot by George Zimmerman has gone viral in support of the teen after a Florida jury found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter. But at least one member of King's family said she doesn't like the image.

Former Georgia state legislator and King's niece Alveda King told radio show host Andrea Tantoros that King or his family would likely not have connected with such a symbol, BlackAmericaWeb.com reports.

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"Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would very likely not wear a hoodie,” King told Tantaros after being asked what she felt her uncle would have thought of the image. "I can assure you he would not wear sagging pants. I don’t even think I’ve ever even seen his sons with sagging pants."

According to Yahoo! News, Alveda King said she did not think the case raised significant racial issues, quoting her uncle in the process.

"You've got two grieving and hurting families," Alveda King said. "We all need to live together as brothers."

Artist Nikkolas Smith created the hoodie image a year ago, he told BuzzFeed. After Saturday night's jury verdict, Van Jones, a former advisor to President Barack Obama, tweeted it. The image was retweeted from Jones' Twitter account 1,400 times alone.

The hoodie has become a symbol for Martin supporters, including some celebrities. The entire Miami Heat basketball team was photographed wearing hoodies since the teenager's death last year.

Smith told BuzzFeed that he believed the response to the verdict was evidence enough to the racial tension connected with the case.

"I created this image when George Zimmerman first killed Trayvon Martin," Smith said. "There was this whole national outcry, a hoodie movement and everybody was rocking their hoods and everything. Just trying to get that message out there about what is considered suspicious. Is my black skin considered suspicious?"

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