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|Coretta Scott King|
|King in 1964|
(1927-04-27)April 27, 1927
Heiberger, Alabama, U.S.
|Deceased||January 30, 2006(2006-01-30)
Rosarito Beach, Mexico
|Cause of death||Ovarian cancer|
|Resting place||King Center for Nonviolent Social Change
New England Conservatory of Music
|Profession(s)||Civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, human rights, and equal rights activist; author|
|Wife/Husband||Martin Luther King, Jr.
(m. 1953; d. 1968)
Martin Luther King III
Dexter Scott King
|Family||Alveda King (niece)|
|Awards Won||Gandhi Peace Prize|
Coretta Scott King (Marion, Alabama, United States, April 27, 1927-Playas de Rosarito, Baja California Mexico, January 30, 2006) was an American writer and activist, recognized leader of the African-American community. Wife of activist and civil rights activist Martin Luther King, who was assassinated in 1968.
Childhood and youth
Coretta was born on April 27, 1927 on a farm in Heiberger, Alabama. She was the daughter of Bernice and Obie Scott, owners of the lands where they resided. Coretta had a hard and sacrificial childhood. During the time of the Great Depression the whole family collaborated in the collection of cotton to survive. He graduated from Primary School in Lincoln, a town nine miles from his hometown, Heiberger, to continue his studies after 1945 at Antioch College. After graduation he moved to Boston where he met Martin Luther King Jr.
Marriage with Martin Luther King
Coretta and Martin were married on June 18, 1953. The ceremony was held at the house of Coretta’s parents in Marion, Alabama, being chaired by Martin’s father. King and Scott had four children:
- Yolanda Denise King (November 17, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama)
- Martin Luther King III (October 23, 1957, in Montgomery, Alabama)
- Dexter Scott King (January 30, 1961, in Atlanta, Georgia)
- Bernice Albertine King (March 28, 1963, in Atlanta, Georgia)
The four children followed in their parents’ footsteps by becoming activists and civil rights advocates.
Political activity and defender of civil rights
Over the years, in addition to dedicating herself to preserving her husband’s memory, her political activity was increased. After the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968, she began attending memorial services at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta to celebrate the birth of her husband on January 15 (a feast that currently takes place on the third Monday in January after the nationwide proclamation of Martin Luther King’s day). He had a close relationship with different American presidents, especially with Lyndon B. Johnson, who contributed decisively to the approval of civil rights. He was present at events such as the signing by President Reagan for the establishment of Martin Luther King’s day.
During the 1980s, Coretta King reaffirmed his opposition to the segregation of the black population, participating in a series of protests in Washington that inspired the entire country to demonstrate against the racist policies of South Africa. She traveled to South Africa to join Winnie Mandela, while her husband, Nelson Mandela, was a political prisoner on Roben Island. After returning to the United States, he put significant pressure on President Reagan to apply sanctions against South Africa.
In 1986 he submitted a letter to the United States Senate against the nomination of Jeff Sessions as a federal judge that was not read or admitted as documentation. In 2017, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren attempted to read the 1986 letter written by Coretta Scott King against the nomination of Jeff Sessions as attorney general by Donald Trump. Sessions was appointed by a majority vote of the attorney general.
Coretta King was present at the first presidential proclamation of George W. Bush in 2001, receiving numerous honorary awards from institutions such as Princeton University and Bates College.
Mrs. King, a person of great firmness in her decisions, showed her strong rejection in matters such as the death penalty or the invasion of Iraq in 2003. In addition to having the support of several conservative groups, she was the spokesperson of many other minorities. A tireless fighter in favor of women’s rights, she also participated in numerous campaigns, including those aimed at preventing AIDS.
In his honor a medal is awarded to children for excellence in literature.
Illness and death
On August 16, 2005, Coretta King was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack. Due to this mishap he suffered loss of speech and a paralysis that affected the right side of his body. He was discharged from Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta on September 22, 2005 after recovering part of the speech, to continue physiotherapy at home. Due to complications associated with the heart attack, she could not fulfill her desire to attend the debates where she discussed whether her husband’s birthplace should be maintained by Atlanta or the National Park Service. On January 14, 2006, Ms. King made her last public appearance at a dinner in honor of her husband.
He died on January 30, 2006 at the age of 78, while he was sleeping, in a rehabilitation center in Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico, in Colonia Lomas de San Antonio, La Coyotera, where he received therapies for his heart attack. . Her mortal remains were transferred to Atlanta to be buried next to her husband at the King Center.
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