Discover more from The Scando Review
Coretta Scott King: A Champion of Equality and Justice
Coretta Scott King was an American civil rights activist who was the wife of Martin Luther King Jr.
Coretta Scott King was born in Marion, Alabama, on April 27, 1927. Her parents were both entrepreneurs, and her mother was musically talented. During her childhood, King showed an interest in music and soon became a leading member of her school's choir. She excelled academically, becoming the valedictorian of her high school. After earning a BA in music from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, she received a scholarship to further her music studies at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. It was during this time that she met Martin Luther King Jr., who was then a doctoral student at the university. Though initially not interested in him, the two eventually began dating and tied the knot in 1953.
In 1954, King completed her studies at the Conservatory of Music, and the couple relocated to Montgomery, Alabama, where Martin Luther King Jr assumed the role of pastor at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. The church became a hub for the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama and later in the country. Due to her family's active involvement in the movement, King received numerous death threats, causing their home to be a frequent target of white supremacist groups. Throughout their marriage, King stood alongside her husband in the fight against injustice, and she openly spoke out against the exclusion of women from the movement. The Kings had four children, and when her husband was away on trips, she took on the responsibility of managing the household on her own.
In 1969, King received the Universal Love Award, a distinction previously held only by Italians, making her the first non-Italian to be honoured with the award.
On April 4, 1968, Dr Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. King remained committed to various causes despite this tragic event and even participated in a labour strike just days after her husband's funeral. She was a vocal critic of the Vietnam War, which led to FBI surveillance for several years. In addition, King championed women's rights and spoke about issues of racism and economic inequality both in the United States and abroad during her travels.
In 1969, King received the Universal Love Award, a distinction previously held only by Italians, making her the first non-Italian to be honoured with the award. That same year, King published her memoir My Life with Martin Luther King Jr.
King founded the King Center, a memorial dedicated to preserving and promoting her husband's legacy. Through her unwavering efforts, a federal holiday was established in honour of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. This holiday was signed into law in 1983, representing a significant accomplishment for King's advocacy work. Although she eventually transferred the leadership of the King Center to her son Dexter, King remained an important figure in the organization, continuing to deliver speeches and make appearances until her passing.
Caretta Scott King died on January 30, 2006, as a result of complications from ovarian cancer. Her funeral was attended by several presidents and heads of state, who mourned the loss of another influential leader in the fight for equality. King is buried alongside her husband in Atlanta, Georgia.