Childhood & Early Life
Jeffery Shaun King was born on 17 September 1979, in Franklin County, Kentucky. His birth certificate shows Naomi Fleming and Jeffrey Wayne King as his parents; however, as per his mother, his actual father was a light-skinned black man.
Jeffery first attended Huntertown Elementary School and later joined Woodford County High School.
For his college education, he joined Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia; however, in between, owing to medical reasons, he had to take a leave.
Once back, he was named the Oprah Winfrey Scholar by Morehouse. As per the scholarship requirement, recipient students have to maintain their grade point average and get involved in community service.
To fulfil his community service commitment, he taught students at Franklin Lebby Stanton Elementary School in Atlanta.
While in the college, he was elected Student Government President in the year 1999. He completed his graduation in history in 2002.
In 2018, he completed his Masters in history from Arizona State University.
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After completing his graduation in 2002, Shaun King began working as a high school history and civics teacher in Atlanta.
After around a year, he started working for Atlanta's juvenile justice system. He visited a number of prisons and youth detention centres in Georgia teaching and counselling for many years.
After he left teaching job, he took up the duties of a pastor at Total Grace Christian Center in DeKalb County, Georgia.
In 2008, he established the ‘Courageous Church’ in Atlanta and used the popular social media site, Facebook, to attract new members.
In March 2010, Shaun King established ‘aHomeinHaiti.org’ and raised $1.5 million through campaigns on eBay and Twitter in order to send tents to people affected by earthquake in Haiti that year.
In 2010 itself, he launched ‘TwitChange.com’ that held Twitter charity auctions on eBay. The tweets by those who won the auction and backed a specific charity, were retweeted by celebrities. The campaign was successful and even won ‘Most Creative Social Good Campaign’ award by Mashable.
In 2012, along with web designer Chad Kellough, he launched ‘HopeMob.org’, a charity site in which a particular person’s story was picked up through voting and thereafter fund was raised to fulfil the required need. After the need was fulfilled, another person’s story was picked up.
The site was backed by Oprah Winfrey. It initially charged a percentage of funds raised to cover its own expenses; however, towards the end of the year, it became completely not-for-profit. Shaun King left HopeMob in 2014.
In 2012, after four years, Shaun King left the ‘Courageous Church’ owing to personal stress and disillusionment.
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He began writing about incidents in the Black Lives Matter movement, an international activist movement started in 2013 to protest against violence and racism towards black people.
In September 2014, Shaun King began contributing articles to politically liberal website, the ‘Daily Kos’ on topics ranging from civil rights, violence at many places and police brutality, primarily towards black people.
In August 2015, he established an organisation - Justice Together – in order to identify police brutality and persuade local politicians to work for a change. However, he shut it down the very next year.
In October 2015, he was appointed the senior justice writer at the ‘New York Daily News’. He continued reporting and writing for the American newspaper till August 2017.
He then became the Writer-In-Residence at Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project.
He also became a contributor to ‘The Intercept’, an award winning news publication.
Before this, in December 2016, he was employed by ‘The Young Turks’ as their political commentator.
In October 2017, one of the leading American newspapers ‘The Washington Post’ credited him for successfully spearheading the social media campaign which resulted in the identification and arrest of three men responsible for the assault on DeAndre Harris during the Unite the Right rally (August 2017).
In 2018, along with other people, Shaun King co-founded a political action committee - Real Justice PAC – in order to help elect reform minded prosecutors at the county and city levels.
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In 2019, Shaun King earned praise for providing a tip to Harris County Sheriff's Office that eventually led to the arrest of the person responsible for the killing of seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes.
In 2019, he launched an online revival of ‘The North Star’, the well-known 19th century newspaper by abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The site by King publishes articles, podcast episodes, and videos and charges a subscription fee.
He features in two podcasts on the site – ‘The Breakdown with Shaun King’ and ‘Married to the Movement’ (along with his wife).
He has also authored a couple of books – ‘The Power of 100! Kickstart Your Dreams, Build Momentum, and Discover Unlimited Possibility’ and of ‘Make Change: How to Fight Injustice, Dismantle Systemic Oppression, and Own Our Future’.
He has also been on hundreds of episodes of the legendary ‘Tom Joyner Morning Show’ as political commentator.
He is also a speaker who has spoken in 35 states, on over 100 college campuses, in jails and prisons, and in corporate boardrooms.
Concerns have been raised over King’s fundraising. He has been accused of raising funds which did not reach those they were meant for. King, however, has refused any allegation of wrongdoing.