July 18, 2013— -- A doctored photo showing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., draped in a hooded sweatshirt reminiscent of the one Trayvon Martin was wearing the night he died has been shared wildly on social media this week.
The image was created by artist Nikkolas Smith and shows King's face shadowed by the hoodie, a symbol that has become synonymous with supporters of Martin. The Florida teenager was wearing a hooded sweatshirt the night George Zimmerman shot and killed the unarmed Martin.
Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder for Martin's death on Saturday, sparking outrage on social media and unrest at some protests around the country.
A niece of King's, former Georgia state representative Alveda King, said in a statement to ABC News today that her uncle would have preferred to focus on the content of the case rather than the articles of clothing involved.
"I am not angered by the artistic expression. I am just plain hurt and saddened to see the message of my uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., reduced to a debate over an article of clothing," she said.
"As to the controversy, George Zimmerman seemingly never explored the content of Trayvon Martin's character," she continued. "We must advocate as Martin Luther King, Jr., advocated; for defining ourselves by the content of our character rather than according to the color of our skin or choice of attire."
On Tuesday, Alveda King said in a radio interview that her uncle never would have worn a hoodie, though she said today she understands it is "the choice of style of teens in this time in our society."
"I can almost promise you Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would not wear a hoodie," Alveda King said on the Andrea Tantaros radio show. "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."
Alveda King said that she thought the verdict in the murder case was just, noting that the trial was about finding reasonable doubt and that reasonable doubt had been established.
"Sadly," she said, "the legal aspects of the trial were not about whether or not George Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon Martin. That issue now becomes a matter of civil rather than criminal law."
The Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change did not respond to requests for comment.