Coretta Scott King
by Heather Pappas

Though our world may seem full of discrimination and hate, there are people that have devoted their life to enforce peace. One of these amazing people is Coretta Scott King.

Mrs. King was born one of three children on April 27, 1927 in Heilberger, Alabama. As a young child she was forced to help support her family by hoeing, and picking cotton. This only furthered Coretta Scott King’s determination to achieve a sound education, demand treatment as an equal and destroy adversity. Mrs. King majored in education and Music at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio in 1945. her dreams of becoming a teacher however soon came crashing down after local public schools banned her as a black teacher to teach. She soon after devoted her time into music, which led to her attending the New England conservatory of Music in Boston. However, she only attended this school on a modest fellowship, which covered her tuition, but also made a part-time job a necessity. This caused her to meet Martin Luther King, which sent her into a head-over-heels romance.

Meeting Martin Luther King presented Coretta Scott with an exceptional opportunity to marry a young minister with the same intense convictions and concern for humanity that she possessed. Marrying such a man allowed Coretta Scott King to pursue her own dreams and possible career without regrets. Upon completing her studies in 1954, Mrs. King moved back to the South with her husband who became the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama. Within that same year, Dr. King led the Montgomery bus boycott and presented a new era of civil rights agitation. Just two years later, Dr. King was the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

Coretta Scott King stood by her husband’s ambitions and gradually became more involved in his civil rights campaigning. Occasionally she would speak at his lectures or sing a song while he recited his speech. In 1962, she served as a delegate for the Women’s Strike for Peace of the 17-nation Disarmament Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. During the middle of the 1960s, she sang in the multi-arts Freedom concerts that raised money for the SCLC. As Martin Luther King’s popularity began to soar, Mrs. King began to take over speaking engagements that Dr. King could not fulfill. This strengthened her dreams of her own rights. After the assassination of Dr. King, she filled many of the commitments that her husband’s death had left behind.

Coretta Scott King’s speech on Solidarity Day, June 19, 1968, is defined as “. . .a prime example of her emergence from the shadow of her husband’s memory.” In this ground breaking speech, she called upon women to “’unite and form a solid block of women power’ to fight the three great evils of racism, poverty and war.” Most of the plans that Mrs. King concentrated on in these first few years was setting up a Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Atlanta.

Coretta Scott King also published a book of memories titled My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. Mrs. King’s activism is not only limited to US borders however. In the mid-1980s, she was arrested along with two of her children for demonstrating against apartheid. The year following that, she visited South Africa, meeting with businessmen and anti-apartheid leader

00.s. Since then she has done numerous things in an effort for civil rights, including speaking against the Haitian military regime against Haitian citizens, and only a few years ago in 1993, she implored the United Nations to “reimpose an embargo against the nation.”

Mrs. Coretta Scott King is an example of peace for our society because of her continuing efforts to make our world racially equal. She is one of the few living persons in our society today that we can honestly look at any say, “She made a difference.” Mrs. King, according to most people, is still an “eloquent and respected spokesperson on behalf of black causes and nonviolent philosophy.” Though she clutched her own beliefs and dreams to her heart and reach out for them with all her might, she is recognized today for keeping her husband’s dream alive.

Coretta Scott King shows the unfaltering determination that people can hold and shows us that we can achieve our goals. Not only a symbol of peace, Mrs. King is also a symbol of society. We were created in God’s image and Coretta Scott King made it a daily effort to let people know we should be treated all the same because of it. Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King, Jr., is the peace hero that should be recognized for the twentieth century.


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