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Black Activists - Coretta Scott King

Updated on February 21, 2012

"Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated."

– Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King was born April 27, 1927 in Marion, Alabama and died January 30, 2006 in Playas de Rosarito, Mexico. Coretta Scott King is best known as the wife of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. However she was much more than just a wife, Coretta Scott King was an activist in her own right. King worked with her husband and took over where her husband left off after his assassination and continued on with his legacy. King worked tirelessly for the rights of all; blacks, gay and lesbian, the poor and others. King felt it necessary to continue to fight for civil rights all over the world.

Coretta Scott King was the third of four children who grew up on a farm and had to pick cotton to help their family. Coretta Scott King was a musician and a singer and won a scholarship to study at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. During her college years King joined the NAACP and other civil rights organizations. It was during this time that Coretta Scott met her soon to be husband Martin Luther King, Jr. Together the Kings would work for civil rights. Although Martin Luther King Jr. wanted his wife to stay at home with their four children, Coretta Scott King felt it important and necessary to fight along side her husband.


Coretta Scott King was a civil rights activist with a distinguished career in activism. King worked side-by-side with her husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. In the beginning both took part in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. King also worked hard to pass the Civil Rights Act. After Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination Coretta Scott King continued to work for civil rights but also focused on women’s rights, world peace, LGBT rights, apartheid, economic issues and other causes. King also fought to make Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday a national holiday. In 1986 President Ronald Reagan signed legislation making Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a federal holiday. Coretta Scott King created The King Center an institution built in the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. TheKingCenter is a 23-acre national historic site that includes King’s birthplace and theEbenezerBaptistChurch where King and his father preached. TheKingCenter helps to teach all who visits about the philosophy of Dr King. This project was extremely important to Coretta Scott King.

Coretta Scott King was much more than the wife of a civil rights leader. Coretta Scott King was much more than an activist. Coretta Scott King was a long-time advocate for world peace and a humanist. Coretta Scott King received many awards, honors and accolades throughout her life as well as after her death. Over 14,000 people gathered for Coretta Scott King's eight-hour funeral in Georgia. Numerous prominent political and civil rights leaders attended the televised service. Coretta Scott King did so much for the rights of others, making sure that everyone had a voice. King never stopped fighting for different causes throughout her life.


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