The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Coretta Scott King’s legacy extends beyond wifely role

By Joycelyn Foster/reporter

   Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King’s widow and the matriarch of the civil rights movement, died Jan. 31, at age 78.
   Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, a close friend to the King family and a former civil rights activist, told the Today Show she “quietly slipped away” in the middle of the night. She had ovarian cancer.
   Her health began to worsen when she suffered a serious stroke and heart attack last summer.
   King stayed close by the side of her history-making and determined husband. However, she is remembered this month for being more than a wife to the civil rights leader; she, too, helped change the course of history.
   Even after the life-shattering event of her husband’s assassination in Memphis, April 4, 1968, King devoted her life to the legacy that commenced with his brave attempts for human rights and equality.
   King was born April 27, 1927, in Perry County, Ala. In the fall of 1947, she daringly began attending Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She earned a bachelor’s in music and education and then studied concert singing at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music. Not only was it less common for women to receive higher education during this time, it was even more challenging for a black woman to attempt this feat; however, Mrs. King accomplished her dream.
   Coretta Scott married the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. June 18, 1953, in Marion, Ala., in the garden of her parents’ home. Little did she know that her life was about to change. She was not only a copartner in the home, but a copartner in life, as when she spent a month with her husband in India studying Gandhi’s techniques of nonviolence.
   Soon after the slaying of her husband, the stoic King made her vocation clear.
   “I’m more determined than ever that my husband’s dream will become a reality,” she said.
   Days after his death, she and her three children rushed to Memphis to lead a march involving thousands of devoted followers of King in honor of her slain husband and to plead for his cause. Her dedication stirred the hearts of millions.
   She kept her word as she worked to keep her husband’s agenda of social justice aligned with the national agenda, keeping it at the top of the nation’s list of priorities.
   In 1969, King founded the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. To this day, the center is continually involved with social issues such as violence, racism and voting rights.
   Furthermore, when King was not singing in concerts, she stayed busy narrating civil rights history to raise money for the cause.
   Even though her life changed when her husband died, she continued to live his dream.
   “It’s a fulfilling life in so many ways, in terms of children, the nonviolent civil rights cause and in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center,” she said.
   Her life ended just as Black History Month began.
   sShe is especially remembered this month for being the matriarch not only of her home, but also of the civil rights movement.

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