With Monday being the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr/’s life and accomplishments, I decided to go back and refresh my memory about his wife and co-worker in the struggle for racial equality CORETTA SCOTT KING.
What follows is an excerpt from her obituary in the New York Times:
“She was a woman born to struggle,” Mr. Young said, “and she has struggled and she has overcome.”
Mrs. King rose from rural poverty in Heiberger, Ala., to become an international symbol of the civil rights revolution of the 1960’s and a tireless advocate for social and political issues ranging from women’s rights to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa that followed in its wake.
She was studying music at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston in 1952 when she met a young graduate student in philosophy, who on their first date told her: “The four things that I look for in a wife are character, personality, intelligence and beauty. And you have them all.” A year later, she and Dr. King, then a young minister from a prominent Atlanta family, were married, beginning a remarkable partnership that ended with his assassination in Memphis on April 4, 1968.
Mrs. King did not hesitate to pick up his mantle, marching, even before her husband was buried, at the head of the striking garbage workers that he had gone to Memphis to champion. She then went on to lead the effort for a national holiday in his honor and to found the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change in Atlanta, dedicated both to scholarship and to activism, where Dr. King is buried.
Mrs. King has been seen as an inspirational figure around the world, a tireless advocate for her husband’s causes and a woman of enormous spiritual depth who came to personify the ideals Dr. King fought for.
“She’ll be remembered as a strong woman whose grace and dignity held up the image of her husband as a man of peace, of racial justice, of fairness,” said the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. King and then served as its president for 20 years.