Coretta Scott King Leaves Own Legacy
Born April 27, 1927 Heiberger, Alabama, USA
Died January 30, 2006 Rosarito Beach, Mexico
Rev Bernice King (Daughter of Coretta & Martin)
C-SPAN 2/07/06 audio clip: http://www.apfn.org/audio/M007I060207154617-CSKING.MP3
Audio: Full Sermon of Rev. Bernice King on 02/07/06 http://www.apfn.net/audio/Bernice-King-2-7-6.mp3
Coretta Scott King and her life-long legacy of civil rights, faith, peace,
combating poverty, etc. is commemorated.
Randi has the clips.
| 2nd Half
King, Coretta Scott (1927-2006)
The founding president of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta , Georgia, Coretta Scott King continued her commitment to the civil rights struggle following the 1968 assassination of her husband, Martin Luther King, Jr.
Born on 27 April 1927 in Perry County, Alabama, Coretta Scott spent her childhood on a farm owned by her parents, Obie Leonard Scott and Bernice McMurray Scott. After graduating from Lincoln High School, a private black institution with an integrated faculty, Coretta Scott attended Antioch College in Ohio, where she received her B.A. in music and elementary education in 1949. While at Antioch , Scott joined the local chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Young Progressives, attending the Progressive Party convention in 1948 as a student delegate.
With the help of a grant from the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, Scott enrolled at Boston's New England Conservatory of Music in 1951, eventually earning a Bachelor of Music degree in voice. During her time in Boston, she met Martin Luther King, Jr., a doctoral candidate at Boston University's School of Theology. Despite the initial objections of King's parents, who wanted King to marry a woman from his hometown of Atlanta, the two were married at the Scott family home near Marion on 18 June 1953.
During much of her husband's very public career, Coretta King remained out of the public spotlight, raising the couple's four children: Yolanda Denise (1955), Martin Luther III (1957), Dexter Scott (1961), and Bernice Albertine (1963). However, she continued to play a central role behind the scenes of many of the major civil rights campaigns of the 1950's and 1960's, and she was by her husband’s side when he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and during the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 that led to the passage of voting rights legislation.
Coretta King put her musical training to use throughout the black freedom struggle, participating in "freedom concerts," which included poetry recitation, singing, and lectures related to the history of the civil rights movement. The proceeds from these concerts were donated to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Coretta King accompanied her husband on many of his trips, traveling to Ghana in 1957 and India in 1959. In 1962, Coretta King's interest in disarmament efforts took her to Geneva, Switzerland, where she served as a Women's Strike for Peace delegate to the seventeen-nation Disarmament Conference.
After King’s assassination on 4 April 1968, Coretta King devoted much of her life to spreading her husband's philosophy of nonviolence. Just a few days after his death, she led a march on behalf of sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. Later that same month, she substituted for her husband at an anti-Vietnam War rally in New York. In May 1968, Coretta King helped to launch the Poor People's Campaign and thereafter participated in numerous anti-poverty efforts.
In 1969, Coretta published her autobiography, My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. That same year, she began mobilizing support for the Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change, which would include an exhibition hall, a restoration of the King childhood home, an Institute for Afro-American Studies, a library containing King's papers, and a museum. As founding president of the Center, she guided its construction next to Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. King had served as co-pastor with his father, Martin Luther King, Sr.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Coretta King continued to speak publicly and write nationally syndicated columns. In 1983, she led an effort that brought more than a half-million demonstrators to Washington, D.C., to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. The following year, Coretta King began efforts to establish a national holiday in honor of her husband. As chairperson of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission, she successfully formalized plans for the annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day that began in January 1986.
During the 1980's, Coretta King also reaffirmed her long-standing opposition to apartheid, participating in a series of sit-in protests in Washington that prompted nationwide demonstrations against South African racial policies. In 1986, she traveled to South Africa and met with Winnie Mandela. After her return to the United States, she personally urged President Ronald Reagan to approve sanctions against South Africa. Coretta King also remained active in various women's organizations, including the National Organization for Women, the Women's International League for Peace, and Church Women United.
In 1985 Mrs. King asked Stanford professor Clayborne Carson to direct the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project, which had been initiated in 1984 by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta. As a result of Dr. Carson's selection, the Project became a cooperative venture of Stanford University, the King Center, and the King Estate. The project is currently part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute.
On 31 January 2006, Coretta Scott King died in her sleep at Santa Monica Hospital, a holistic health center in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. She was 78.
- Photo: Coretta Scott while a student at Antioch College, ca. 1951.
- Photo: Coretta Scott King, Yolanda Denise King, and Martin Luther King, Jr. stand on the stairs of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in spring of 1956.
- Photo: Coretta Scott King embraces Martin Luther King, Jr. on 22 March 1956 after he was found guilty of conspiracy to boycott in Montgomery, Alabama.
- Photo: Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in India on 10 February 1959.
- Photo: The King family celebrates on 27 October 1960, after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s release from Reidsville State Prison, Georgia.
- Photo: Coretta Scott King and Clay Carson at Stanford University, shortly after the creation of the King Papers Project.
- Document: Address at Youth March for Integrated Schools, delivered by Coretta Scott King in Washington, D.C., 25 October 1958.
- Document: Letter from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Coretta Scott King, written while in Reidsville State Prison, Georgia.
- Document: Book inscription by Coretta Scott King to Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Document: Valentine's Day telegram from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Coretta Scott King, 14 February 1957.
Coretta Scott King dies
Widow of civil rights leader called 'matriarch of the movement'
Tuesday, January 31, 2006; Posted: 2:21 p.m. EST (19:21 GMT)
Coretta Scott King speaks at the King Center in 2004. She suffered a heart attack and stroke last year.
Coretta Scott King was caretaker of husband's legacy (3:42)
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Coretta Scott King, the widow of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., died Monday night in Baja California, Mexico, her sister told CNN.
Mrs. King, 78, suffered a stroke and a mild heart attack last August. As part of her rehabilitation, she was receiving further medical treatment at Hospital Santa Monica, a holistic health center, when she died, her sister Edythe Scott Bagley told CNN.
President Bush and the first lady were "deeply saddened" to hear about Mrs. King's death, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters Tuesday.
"Mrs. King was a remarkable and courageous woman and a great civil rights leader," the president said in a statement.
"Laura and I were fortunate to have known Mrs. King, and we will always treasure the time we spent with her," Bush said. "We send our condolences and prayers to the entire King family."
"This is a very sad hour," U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia, told CNN on Tuesday.
"She was the glue. Long before she met and married Martin Luther King Jr. she was an activist," he said. (Watch how she balanced motherhood and the movement -- 3:42)
"She would always admonish us that ... one of the ways you bring about change is, you must change yourself so that you're prepared to lead people in the direction they should go. If your emotions are as bad as those you're fighting, even if your cause is just, you disqualify yourself from being effective," the Rev. Al Sharpton told CNN on Tuesday.
The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, a family friend, described her as a "matriarch of the movement, a patriot of all that America stands for," in an interview with CNN affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta.
Tuesday, the flag at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, which Mrs. King founded in Atlanta as a memorial to her husband's work and dream after his assassination, was flying at half-staff.
Mourners stopped at the center to pay their respects, many of them visibly upset. Some carried flowers.
"We appreciate the prayers and condolences from people across the country," her family said in a statement.
Funeral arrangements will be announced once plans are finalized, the statement said.
Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has ordered flags at all state buildings to be flown at half-staff until Mrs. King's funeral. He also has offered to have her body lie in state at the capitol building rotunda in Atlanta, the governor's spokeswoman Heather Hedrick told CNN.
The family has not yet responded to that offer, Hedrick said.
Mrs. King's last public appearance came January 14 at a Salute to Greatness dinner as part of the Martin Luther King Day celebrations in Atlanta.
She received a standing ovation and, supported on the arms of her children, waved to the crowd.
She did not speak at the event and was in a wheelchair.
It had been more than 20 years since she oversaw the first legal holiday in honor of her husband, a holiday that has come to be celebrated in some form in over 100 countries, according to her biography on The King Center Web site.
'She stood for peace'
Born in Marion, Alabama, on April 27, 1927, Coretta Scott graduated as valedictorian of her high school class and attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She received a B.A. in music and education and then studied concert singing at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. She got a degree in voice and violin, according to her biography.
While there, she met a theology student from Atlanta, Martin Luther King Jr., who was pursuing a doctorate at Boston University. They married on June 18, 1953, in her hometown of Marion.
As the young pastor began his civil rights work in Montgomery, Alabama, Coretta Scott King worked closely with him, organizing marches and sit-ins at segregated restaurants while raising their four children: Yolanda Denise, Martin Luther III, Dexter Scott and Bernice Albertine.
Mrs. King performed in "Freedom Concerts," singing and reading poetry to raise money for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization which Dr. King led as its first president.
The family endured the beating, stabbing and jailing of the civil rights leader, and their house was bombed.
When James Earl Ray killed her husband in Memphis in 1968, just prior to a planned march, Mrs. King organized his funeral, then "went to Memphis and finished the march," the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Tuesday.
"She was a staunch freedom fighter," he added.
Mrs. King turned her grief into the nurturing of her husband's legacy. The year her husband was killed, she established The King Center. A year later, she published her memoir, "My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr."
She spoke out "on behalf of racial and economic justice, women's and children's rights, gay and lesbian dignity, religious freedom, the needs of the poor and homeless, full employment, health care, educational opportunities, nuclear disarmament and ecological sanity," according to her biography.
Mrs. King and three of her children were even arrested in 1985 while protesting apartheid at the South African embassy in Washington, according to her official biography.
"I believe what Coretta Scott King would want us to do is continue this march toward progress when it comes to disability rights, women's rights, civil rights -- and not retreat from it," said Sen. Ted Kennedy, a Democrat from Massachusetts.
"She wore her grief with dignity," said the Rev. Joseph Lowery, former president of the SCLC, who worked on civil rights with Dr. King in the 1950's. "She moved quietly but forcefully into the fray. She stood for peace in the midst of turmoil."
Posted on Tue, Feb. 07, 2006
More than 10,000 mourners turn out to honor King
BY DAHLEEN GLANTON
Chicago TribuneLITHONIA, Ga. - Coretta Scott King, who earned the title "first lady of the civil rights movement" for her tireless efforts to carry on the work of her slain husband, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., was given her final honor Tuesday with a funeral that was as much about tributes as politics.
In a six-hour celebration, dozens of speakers, including President Bush, stood at the podium of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta to talk about the woman who rose from the shadow of her late husband to become a respected advocate of human rights and the guardian of his legacy.
The service, speckled with laughter, tears and political jabs, offered a platform for those who oppose Bush's policies to speak publicly on subjects ranging from the war in Iraq to voting rights to economics as he listened, at times with a smile on his face and sometimes with no expression.
"How marvelous that presidents and governors come to mourn and praise, but in the morning will words become deeds that meet the needs?" asked the Rev. Joseph Lowery, the 83-year-old civil rights leader who worked closely with the Rev. King in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
The funeral, attended by more than 10,000 people, culminated a week of honors for Coretta Scott King, who died last week of complications from ovarian cancer. More than 160,000 people stood in the rain and cold for hours, sometimes into the early morning, to pay respects to her at three public viewings, beginning Saturday when she became the first African-American and the first woman to lie in honor at the Georgia Capitol rotunda.
Early Tuesday, thousands of mourners, dressed in high heels and sneakers, fur coats and overalls, began lining up at a shopping mall in Lithonia to take shuttle buses to the church. By 10 a.m., two hours before the service began, the church was full and the shuttles stopped, leaving hoards of people waiting. Some of them walked three miles to the church, only to be stopped at the door.
Many people kept their children home from school so that they could attend the funeral.
"This is history-making for us," said Ida Townsend, 61, who traveled from Indianapolis. "She was one of the most admired women in America. I was not here for Dr. King's funeral, but I dare not miss this one."
The service featured a mixture of tributes from Coretta King's personal friends, such as poet Maya Angelou, and politicians, including former Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.
Later her body was placed in a temporary crypt near her husband's tomb at the King Center in downtown Atlanta.
As soon as President Bush announced that he would attend the funeral, his critics began attacking the decision. Bush, who has had a weak relationship with African-Americans since his election in 2000, was criticized for not attending the funeral of activist Rosa Parks in November. And he was jeered in Atlanta in 2004 when he laid a wreath at Martin Luther King's tomb on the national holiday.
Civil rights leaders Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton voiced their concerns about Bush's presence on the lawn of the church before Tuesday's funeral began.
"It is the height of hypocrisy for George Bush and others to mourn a human rights leader and scorn the movement she represents," said Sharpton, adding that many of Bush's programs have been detrimental to African-Americans. "It's ironic that someone who supports wiretapping will be here among the people who were victims of wiretapping in the 1960s."
Bush, who sat on the stage with first lady Laura Bush, said he had come to offer the sympathy of the entire nation.
"This kind and gentle woman became one of the most admired Americans of our time. She is rightly mourned, and she is deeply missed," Bush said.
The president's remarks drew applause from the audience, but it was nothing like the roaring ovation Clinton received later when he stepped to the podium with his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. The former president had to hold his hand up in a gesture for people to stop applauding so that he could speak.
"This is a woman, as well as a symbol," Clinton reminded the crowd. He said the challenge of America now is to continue embracing the King legacy, which is to stand for peace, nonviolence and civil rights.
Lowery, who like Coretta King has been a critic of the Iraq war, drew hearty applause when he made a jab at Bush's decision to invade Iraq.
"We know there were no weapons of mass destruction over there," he said. "We know there are weapons of misdirection right down here."
Carter said America has a responsibility to continue the fight for equal opportunity.
"The struggle for equal rights is not over. We only have to recall the faces of those in Louisiana and Mississippi," he said, referring to the victims of the devastation from Hurricane Katrina.
Georgia Rep. Tyrone Brooks, a longtime civil rights leader and friend of the Kings, said the president faced a no-win situation.
"He is between a rock and a hard place. He has to come out of respect for the family and the legacy of Mrs. King, but his actions don't match up with his rhetoric," said Brooks.
The funeral was more lavish than Martin Luther King's in 1968, and in some ways observers said, Tuesday's event was a tribute to him as well.
That funeral was not attended by any presidents though it drew high-ranking politicians such as Vice President Hubert Humphrey, senators and others such as Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of slain President John F. Kennedy. Still the list of dignitaries paled in comparison to those at Tuesday's funeral.
The family's decision to hold Coretta King's funeral at New Birth, where her daughter the Rev. Bernice King is a minister, raised controversy in the community. Many thought the funeral should have been held at Ebenezer, where Martin Luther King once served as co-pastor.
Bishop Eddie Long, pastor of the church with one of the largest congregations in Atlanta, has been controversial because of his strong stance against gays and because of his support of President Bush.
"The concern is that this could convey a message that the moral agenda Mrs. King embodies is now assumed under the ministry of Bishop Long," said Robert Franklin, a professor of social ethics at Emory University's School of Theology. "For all the good things Bishop Long has done, Mrs. King's moral atlas was more inclusive, one that reflected love of all people."
In her eulogy, Bernice King said she believed holding the funeral at New Birth was symbolic.
"Coretta King's transition is calling for a new birth," she said. "It is time for the world to be born again. It is time for a new birth."
Bush Gets an Earful at Coretta King's Funeral
By Peter Wallsten and Richard Fausset
LITHONIA, Ga. -- A day of eulogizing Coretta Scott King turned into a rare, in-person rebuke of President Bush, with a succession of civil rights and political leaders assailing White House policies as evidence that the dream of social and racial equality pursued by King and her slain husband is far from reality.
Bush and his wife, Laura, sat on stage as worshippers cheered the suggestions from several speakers that the civil rights movement -- led in the 1960s by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and fostered since his assassination by the widowed Coretta -- remains alive, its goals not fully realized.
Tuesday's service, lasting six hours, much of it carried live nationally on cable television, marked an unusual combination of political pageantry and civil rights history. The spectacle included humor, interpretive dance, gospel and classical music, shouting and testifying, and a list of dignitaries that made room for three former presidents, poet Maya Angelou and crooner Michael Bolton.
But it also included pointed political commentary, much of it aimed at Bush. The president and his wife watched as the sanctuary at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church near Atlanta filled with raucous cheers for their White House predecessors, Bill and Hillary Clinton -- a reminder that five years into his term, Bush and the Republican Party he leads have not found the acceptance across black America that GOP strategists had hoped.
"This commemorative ceremony this morning and this afternoon is not only to acknowledge the great contributions of Coretta and Martin, but to remind us that the struggle for equal rights is not over," said former President Carter, a Democrat and former Georgia governor, to rising applause. "We only have to recall the color of the faces of those in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, those who were most devastated by Katrina, to know that there are not yet equal opportunities for all Americans."
Carter, who has had a strained relationship with Bush, drew cheers when he used the Kings' struggle as a reminder of the recent debate over whether Bush violated civil liberties protections when he ordered warrantless surveillance of some domestic phone calls and e-mails.
Noting that the Kings' work was "not appreciated even at the highest level of the government," Carter said: "It was difficult for them personally -- with the civil liberties of both husband and wife violated as they became the target of secret government wiretapping, other surveillance, and as you know, harassment from the FBI." Bush has said his own program of warrantless wiretapping is aimed at stopping terrorists.
The most overtly partisan remarks came from the Rev. Joseph Lowery, a King protege and longtime Bush critic, who noted Coretta King's opposition to the war in Iraq and criticized Bush's commitment to boosting the poor.
"She deplored the terror inflicted by our smart bombs on missions way afar," he said. "We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. But Coretta knew and we knew that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war, billions more, but no more for the poor."
As the barbs flew, Bush seemed to take the heat in stride, smiling at times, giving Lowery a standing ovation and even pulling the civil rights leader in for a bear hug.
The president himself received polite applause before and after his seven-minute eulogy, in which he said he attended the service "to offer the sympathy of our entire nation at the passing of a woman who worked to make our nation whole."
"As a great movement of history took shape, her dignity was a daily rebuke to the pettiness and cruelty of segregation," the president said.
Sitting with Bush on the stage by King's flower-draped casket were three ex-presidents: Clinton, Carter and the president's father, George H.W. Bush, along with one potential future presidential candidate, Sen. Clinton, a Democrat from New York.
The appearance by Bush, who decided over the weekend to rearrange his schedule and attend the service, came as his approval rating among blacks has slipped to the low single digits in some surveys -- a direct response, some strategists believe, to the government's failed response in the wake of Katrina.
Civil rights leaders and Democrats have also criticized Bush's proposed new budget plan announced this week, which would increase defense spending while maintaining tax cuts for wealthier Americans and reducing aid to the poor.
For Bush, the service offered a rare face-to-face encounter with some of the traditional, liberal civil rights leaders, such as Lowery, that he has avoided since taking office. While Bush has never addressed an NAACP convention as president, he has instead sought to build black support by reaching to more conservative pastors and business leaders sympathetic to his entrepreneurial vision of government.
New Birth and its pastor, Bishop Eddie Long, have been at the center of those outreach efforts, with Long and other leaders of black "megachurches" meeting on several occasions with Bush at the White House to discuss directing money to faith-based charities, combating AIDS in Africa, poverty and other topics.
But as the speeches continued Tuesday, the scene reflected the uphill struggle that Republicans have faced in courting blacks, even before Hurricane Katrina focused attention on black poverty.
But for all of the bare partisanship, the service offered light moments and conviviality.
Former President Bush poked fun at Lowery, joking that he used to keep a score card in his Oval Office desk of their interactions. It was Lowery 21, Bush 3, he said, adding: "It wasn't a fair fight."
The elder Bush, who as a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1964 campaigned against the Civil Rights Act pursued by the Kings, acknowledged that the service was an unusual experience.
"I come from a rather conservative Episcopal parish," Bush said. "And I haven't seen anything like this in my life."
For the assembled politicians, the applause was most thunderous for Bill Clinton. Sen. Clinton stood at his side at the podium as he spoke, and her brief comments later focused on how Coretta King had taken up the mission of her husband.
King Funeral Turns Political
February 07, 2006 04:22 PM EST
By Sher Zieve – As a dignified funeral for one of out great leaders proceeded, most of the speakers present gave homage to the works and personage of the wife of former civil rights leader Martin Luther King. Four US presidents attended Coretta Scott King’s funeral.
But, Mrs. King’s funeral turned political with the comments of Rev. Joseph Lowery. As President Bush was seated behind him Lowery, former SCLC president, said: “We know now that there were no WMDs in that country [Iraq]...but, there are weapons of mass misdirection right down here."
In addition to the coverage of Mrs. King’s funeral, it was announced Tuesday that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has gained recorded audio tapes of Saddam Hussein and are examining them. The tapes are speculated to hold information as to where Hussein sent his WMDs, prior to the US military entering Iraq.
M.L. King Murder A Government Plot
January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968
Chronology of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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