Coretta Scott King
April 27, 1927 - January 30, 2006
Civil rights leader, wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"My husband," writes Coretta Scott King in her introduction to The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr., "was a man who hoped to be a Baptist preacher to a large, Southern, urban congregation. Instead, by the time he died in 1968, he had led millions of people into shattering forever the Southern system of segregation of the races."
Ms. King as a young lady
Coretta Scott married Martin Luther King, Jr., giving up her personal career plans to join him as a civil rights activist. Side by side with her husband she led marches and gave speeches, but as the spouse of a popular public figure, she also endured many hours alone. In My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. she notes that "in spite of Martin's being away so much, he was wonderful with his children, and they adored him. When Daddy was home it was something special."
Playing the piano
Her leadership capabilities were further tested soon thereafter as King strove to preserve her husband's memory with the foundation in 1968 of both the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center for Nonviolent Social Change and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission. As chairperson of both organizations King made hundreds of speeches, logged thousands of miles traveling around the world, and met with countless national and local leaders proclaiming her husband's message of nonviolence. Her energies became focused on two goals: the opening of a scholarly center dedicated to her husband where nonviolence could be taught and studied and the celebration of his birthday as a national holiday.
The Center has been instrumental in the achievement of Coretta King's second goal, the establishment of a Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday. The Center led a campaign that collected six million signatures to present to Congress in support of the proposed holiday and sponsored annual national programs celebrating the holiday during the years between Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death and the first official celebration of the day in January, 1986.
Talking about her work in an Ebony interview, Coretta King notes, "I will always be out here doing the things I do, and I'm not going to stop talking about Martin and promoting what I think is important in terms of teaching other people, particularly young people, his meaning so they can live in such a way to make a contribution to our advancement and progress."VIDEO CLIPS
• Coretta Scott King's Wikipedia Page
• Memories of Martin video (click to play)
URL (Click to bookmark): http://www.visionaryproject.org/kingcorettascott