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Coretta Scott King

Profile: Coretta Scott King
Pioneer of Civil Rights


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"When I went to the movies with other black children, we had to sit in the balcony while the white kids got to sit in the better seats below. We had to walk to school while the white children rode in school buses paid for by our parents' taxes. Such messages, saying we were inferior, were a daily part of our lives."

Young Coretta Scott's gift for music and enthusiasm for education led her far beyond the segregated world of her childhood, but when she met the young Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the two resolved to return to the Deep South together and pursue the cause of justice in her own home state of Alabama. The Montgomery bus boycott thrust the young couple to the forefront of a revitalized civil rights movement, even as it exposed their growing family to the retaliation of those who opposed any change in the old system.

Braving death threats and surviving the bombing of their home by white supremacists, Coretta Scott King stood by the cause and her husband, from the Birmingham jail to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, from the March on Washington, to a stage in Oslo, Norway where he accepted the Nobel Prize for Peace. After his assassination, she inspired the world with her courage, dignity and tireless devotion to preserving Dr. King's legacy.

As founding President, Chair, and Chief Executive Officer of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, she saw that tens of thousands of activists from all over the world were trained in the philosophy and practice of nonviolence. She has served as an advisor to freedom and democracy movements all over the world, and as a consultant to world leaders including President Corazon Aquino of the Philippines, President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, and President Nelson Mandela of South Africa. One of the world's most admired women, she remained an outspoken champion of justice and human dignity to the end of her days.




This page last revised on Jan 31, 2006 10:56 EDT