Thursday, October 20, 2011

Coretta Scott King

Due to the recent unveiling of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, the noted civil rights leader has, once again, been in the news and lauded. These recent celebrations lead my thoughts to his widow, Coretta Scott King. What must it have been like to be the wife of the great civil rights leader? He was able to do the work God lead him to do due to the supportive woman he was blessed with at home. She also took care of their four children who were only 12, 10, 7 and 5 respectively when Dr. King was assassinated.

Faced with racism and injustice as she attended school, Coretta Scott took an interest in civil rights at an early age. She attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio in 1945. While there, she joined the Antioch Chapter of the NAACP. She later graduated with a BA in music and education. She won a scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

Coretta Scott’s life changed forever in Massachusetts. She finished her degree in voice and violin and met and married a young theology student, Martin Luther King, Jr. The couple was married on June 18, 1953. From there they moved to Montgomery, Alabama where her husband had been appointed as Pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. It was in Montgomery where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. Dr. King along with Coretta began their work in the civil rights movement.

Mrs. King followed her husband all around the world in the name of freedom. May times their lives were in danger, along with their children. That danger culminated when Dr. King was assassinated April 4, 1968. This event strengthened Coretta Scott King’s work in the civil rights movement. She began by working on the building of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. She continued in her husband’s causes. Ms. King led the charge to establish Dr. King’s birthday as a national holiday.