Florence King, council candidate and civic activist, dies

Florence King, council candidate and civic activist, dies

By Cody Mello-Klein | cmelloklein@alextimes.com

Florence King, a civic activist, 2021 City Council candidate and Alexandria Living Legend, died at home on Thursday morning after a brief illness. She was in her 70s.

King, who lived in the city for 30 years, was a familiar face to many in the community from her work as a city elections officer, service on countless boards and commissions, recent campaign for City Council and tireless work for the nonprofit she founded, FMK Credit Education Center. Her death came as a shock to many, as residents posted memorials on social media yesterday.

“What an unthinkable and shocking loss. I’m so saddened,” former Mayor Allison Silberberg wrote on Facebook. “Florence has made a phenomenal difference here in countless ways, and she was a friend to all. My deepest sympathies to all who knew and loved her, especially her family. Her life was a blessing and she will be sorely missed.”

Kevin Harris, who ran in the 2021 Democratic primary and attended church with King, said on Facebook that although King’s death saddens him, “I can still see her lovely smile in my mind.”

“She was a gracious woman and a pillar in the Alexandria community that helped so many families and educated many on matters of finance,” Harris said.

King was born and raised in Fairfax County and is the descendent of Thornton and Thomasine Gray. Thornton was a freed slave from George Washington’s Mount Vernon plantation, and Thomasine was enslaved but later emancipated by Washington in 1801. Throughout her time in the city, King never forgot the city and region’s often painful Black history. She served on the Alexandria Historical Resources Commission, Freedmens Cemetery Memorial Steering Committee and Laurel Grove School Association, which tells the history of a historic school that served Black children in Franconia.

After graduating from George Mason University with a major in sociology and minor business administration, King went on to work for the federal government for 17 years before founding FMK Credit Services, which helped improve clients’ credit ratings, in 1991. She later sold the business and, in 2005, founded FMK Credit Education Center and, in 2016, the nonprofit FMK Financial Literacy Center. The center aims to help disadvantaged families and seniors achieve financial stability and self-sufficiency.

In 2018, King was named an Alexandria Living Legend for her work in teaching financial literacy, as well as her extensive service to the community on various boards, commissions and organizations. She served on the board of Agenda: Alexandria, the city’s Commission on Employment, the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra’s board of directors, as vice president of the Northern Virginia Urban League and as chair of the Alexandria Regional Council of the United Way. 

Prior to running for City Council this year, King served as an elections officer for 25 years.

King is survived by her son, two daughters, brother and three sisters.