Together with her man, Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made a remarkable partnership. It resulted not only in four talented children, it also helped her practice devoting her life to the highest values of human dignity in service to social change. It seemed black people in America had a time to shine that might involve something other than shoes. So she was rather enraptured with the prospects of performing her arts - in a worldwide and televised way.
"Corrie" was a nice young woman who had a terrific figure in her prime, carefully cultivated to make her an excellent mother. Nonetheless, she had to endure the painful hardships of being seen as "unnatural" because she was colored, and of being seen in a futile way as someone who could be shoved around. She grew up with a typical life of the times, having to walk five miles to school every day. Being somewhat defensive as a young woman, she thought that she might not achieve a full life; this turned out to be entirely not the case.
Also, she and Dr. King made a pretty cute couple. She married fairly young, having met him at Boston College. Way it goes in life sometimes. Corrie would have to settle for the loss of her individuality somewhat, and become lost in a great man's shadow. But she would forever retain her beauty, and unlike her husband, she never became overweight, dying not of attack or assassination - but at a relatively advanced age in a safe, clean hospital bed, one at a non-segregated hospital. And yet for some reason, even black people seem to have had trouble finding them their proper graves. I wondered myself if this had anything to do with the usual "witchcraft" accusations, but I guess it was just politics - and an attempt to get the Kings buried in a good area and in a style becoming their standings.
The single crypt housing the great man's body at the grounds of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change has been replaced by a larger one, and Coretta Scott King's body has been moved to it from a temporary grave. She died at 78 on January 30 of complications from a stroke and ovarian cancer. This is technically the third grave for Martin Luther King, Jr. who was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968. His was the fourth of a series of awful assassinations: JFK's in 1963, Malcolm X's in 1965, Bobby Kennedy's in 1968, and also MLK's - a few months earlier. But the fact is, during this time period, others were forced to contemplate lives of extreme misery and social degradation. The two people mentioned in this story may accidentally not have done enough for them. Well, they were only human. Perhaps they inadvertently contributed to a nasty belief system involving going to Hell after you die, being religious folks. Dr. King himself really hated this fixation, and had spoken deeply against it.
However, this is not that large of a question anymore. Really, as global warming has now superseded many social issues, these problems don't continue in these days like they used to. I have to wonder though about "our" MLK and his family; I have heard some odd messages about them, sometimes on the Internet, sometimes in my sleep - and sometimes they come to me when I'm awake, from where, I wouldn't begin to know.
Meanwhile, back in the past, Mrs. King traveled throughout America and the world speaking out on behalf of racial and economic justice, women's and children's rights, gay and lesbian dignity, religious freedom, the needs of the poor and homeless, full-employment, health care, educational opportunities, nuclear disarmament, and ecological sanity. In short, this lady let a productive career that she had begun earlier in school guide her away from a most terrible mourning process.
As Dr. King had died at the tender age of 39, she was quite lonely, in spite of a huge coterie of fans and friends. So her mourning process was thus sufficiently alleviated. The man she had been married to was a brilliant man of talent. She could never find anyone better, so she didn't remarry. The altruistic being that had nearly saved the world was perpetually on her psyche. He had been a major world figure, and she had been so near the top of the highest mountain, she decided to continue to preach his words of social change. She had been doing that anyway, but his loss was not one from which she could recover. On the other hand, she certainly had a lot to make up for it - with her struggles for dignity for others.
In her distinguished and productive career, she has lent her support to democracy movements world-wide and served as a consultant to many world leaders in democracy movements worldwide. She traveled the world to tell as many people who could afford to listen to her at the time that although she was a grieving widow, she had much to share with everybody regarding gaining human rights for the entire oppressed world, or at the very least, for the left wing version of it.
During the 1980's, Coretta Scott King also reaffirmed her long-standing opposition to apartheid, participating in a series of sit-in protests in Washington that prompted nationwide demonstrations against South African racial policies. In 1986, she traveled to South Africa and met with Winnie Mandela. After her return to the United States, she personally urged President Ronald Reagan to approve sanctions against South Africa. Coretta King also remained active in various women's organizations, including the National Organization for Women, the Women's International League for Peace, and Church Women United.
She put her musical training to use throughout the black freedom struggle, participating in "freedom concerts," which included poetry recitation, singing, and lectures related to the history of the civil rights movement. The proceeds from these concerts were donated to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). She accompanied her husband on many of his trips, traveling to Ghana in 1957 and India in 1959. In 1962, Coretta Scott King's interest in disarmament efforts took her to Geneva, Switzerland, where she served as a Women's Strike for Peace delegate to the seventeen-nation Disarmament Conference.
"Today Mrs. King is active in many political groups. She is a member of the Black Leadership Forum and the Black Leadership Roundtable. She also continues to give speeches supporting her political beliefs of nonviolent change," is what a website said about her in 2006. She died later that same year. Ten months after her death, Coretta Scott King is in her final resting place next to her husband, slain civil rights leader Michael King. He is now known by one of his many titles, purportedly, at the grave site, probably the one of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther, King, Jr.