ATLANTA (AP) -- Martin Luther King Jr. never made much money as a preacher and civil rights leader, but as a boy, he loved to play Monopoly.
The 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner worked tirelessly on behalf of the disenfranchised, but hated chores. He quit piano lessons, but married a musician.
Such obscure facts — often overshadowed by accomplishments that have lionized his life — are among those recounted by his sister, Christine King Farris, in her new memoir, "Through It All: Reflections on My Life, My Family and My Faith," published by Atria Books.
"I wanted people to understand that we were real human beings," Farris said. "So often, people look at my brother as an icon. I want people to understand that we come from a real family."
It is also a chance to tell her own story, putting a rare focus on Farris, who has long been devoted to preserving and promoting her brother's legacy. But her life was also rooted in activism and has been marked by tremendous loss and triumph over grief.
"She may not have been always on the line of march, but that was true with a lot of the heroes of the civil rights movement," Marcellus Barksdale, history professor at Morehouse College, said.
"Not everybody was out on the picket line, but they were important to the movement, too, in other kinds of ways, working behind the scenes to keep things going. Because of the luminescence of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King, Christine kind of got dimmed by that, but she was no less important."
Among the tidbits Farris reveals about herself: Her first name is actually Willie, a tribute to her maternal family, the Williamses; and her first bed was not a crib, but a drawer in her parents' chifforobe.
Farris' regal, dignified, even stoic public image has come to represent the general perception of her family as distant. It is hardly the impression she wants to give as a lifelong educator.
"When young people find out I'm Martin Luther King's sister, they look at me as if I'm not real," she said. "It's that audience, particularly, that I want to understand (my family)."
Farris has also written two children's books about her life, "My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up With the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." and "March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World." She said sharing stories about her brother — whom she affectionately calls by his initials — as a normal child and young adult makes him and his achievements more accessible.
"Every now and then, I have to chuckle as I realize there are people who actually believe M.L. actually appeared," Farris wrote in her memoir. "They think he simply happened, that he appeared fully formed, without context, ready to change the world. Take it from his big sister, that's simply not the case."
In the book, Farris describes their childhood as normal and depicts King as a typical brother in many ways. When the two headed North — King for seminary studies in Boston and Farris for graduate school in New York City — he empathized when she had difficulty adjusting and wrote to their mother about her struggles.
At 81, Farris has outlived many of the people she loved, including her parents, her brothers, her sister-in-law and her niece, Yolanda.
"It was difficult, but I knew that we had to go on," she said.
After Martin Luther King Jr.'s death in 1968, Farris helped his widow, Coretta Scott King, build The King Center and has helped teach his philosophy of nonviolent resistance. For years, she has led the ecumenical service celebrating King's birthday at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her grandfather, father and King preached from 1960 until his death in 1964, and where Farris remains a member.
She wrote that she is now in her "season of reflection," but Farris remains dedicated to the King legacy. She is a lifelong member of The King Center's board of directors, where her duties include working on Emory University's annual King Week activities.