When Coretta Scott, an Alabama-born college student studying music in Boston, married Martin Luther King Jr. in 1953, she knew she was signing up for a life of dedication to social justice. As her husband’s partner and most trusted confidant, she supported his ceaseless work to try to end racial discrimination in the United States, and then carried forward his legacy upon his assassination in 1968. She spent the following decades speaking out for civil rights herself—for African Americans, and also for women and LGBT people, as well as for the oppressed Black citizens of apartheid-era South Africa.
Today, Americans have Coretta Scott King to thank for securing Dr. King’s birthday as a federal holiday, so that the memory of his struggle would live on through the nation’s future. And as we’ve seen recently, her own legacy still resonates in American public life in 2017. We salute her with this video tribute in what would have been her 90th year.