Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King was born on April 27th, 1927 in Heiberger, a town situated in Alabama. During her lifetime she fought for human rights and equality alongside her career as a writer and author. She met her husband, human rights activist Martin Luther King Junior, when they were both studying in Boston. She worked side by side with her husband when he became the leader of The Civil Rights movement and established herself as an activist for women and human rights. After the murder of her husband, she founded The Martin Luther King Jr Centre for non-Violent Social Change and worked eagerly on making Martin Luther King´s birthday a national holiday. Her work payed off and she got her wish. In August 2005, Coretta had a heart attack and died less than a year after when she was getting treatment for ovarian cancer at a clinic in Mexico. Coretta was 78 years old and her funeral was held in The New Birth Church in Georgia conducted by her daughter Bernice King. The funeral and surroundings were broadcasted for eight hours by several Tv-channels and at the church more than 14 000 people. As a certain a token of her greatness you could see no less than five presidents at the funeral, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. Barack Obama, however, wasn´t a president at the time, he was a senator.  

Activist for human rights
Activist for human rights

Activist for human rights

In the 1950s and 1960s Coretta mostly worked side by side with her famous husband. She took an active part in The Montgomery bus Boycott in 1955. Boycott rose as a protest on Montgomery´s policy to keep a racially segregated public transportation system. This boycott is seen as the start of the American civil rights movement. In 1957 they both went to Ghana to show their support for the independence of the country. In the late ´50s the went for a pilgrimage in India. Even though Coretta was mostly known as the wife of Martin Luther King, she also created her own career as an activist. Among other she worked as a mediator and link between authorities and peace- and civil rights- organisations.  

Honouring her husband by keeping up the work

On April 4th, 1968 her husband was shot by a sniper when standing on a balcony outside Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Four days after the murder, Coretta lead the march her husband had planned through Memphis supporting sanity workers on strike. The death of Martin Luther King had large consequences around America. The murder started riots and demonstrations in hundreds of cities. The shooter, a malcontent drifter and sentenced man named James Earl Ray, was arrested after a two-month long chase. As an outcome from the murder she founded the Martin Luther King Jr Centre for non-violent Social Change and worked as the president and CEO for the centre from the beginning. Coretta stayed active with her demonstrations and work against Apartheid and in 1983 she managed to get Ronald Reagan to create the Martin Luther King Day as a national holiday. In 1995 she handed over the centre to her son, Dexter King, but stayed in the spotlight. Today Coretta Scott King´s work on human and female rights is seen as a large contribution to the situation of American women today.