Coretta Scott King
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ATLANTA (AP) - Coretta Scott King wore her grief with remarkable grace, and it made her one of the most influential figures in the struggle for civil rights.

The "first lady of the civil rights movement," who died in her sleep Tuesday at age 78, was a supportive lieutenant to her husband, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and after his assassination in 1968, she carried on his work while raising their four children.

Coretta Scott King died at an alternative medicine clinic in Mexico. Doctors at the clinic said King was battling advanced ovarian cancer when she arrived Thursday. They said the cause of death was respiratory failure.

Arrangements were being made to fly her body to Atlanta. She had been recovering from a serious stroke and heart attack suffered last August. Just two weeks ago, she made her first public appearance in a year on the eve of her late husband's birthday.

Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, one of Martin Luther King's top aides, said Coretta Scott King's fortitude rivaled that of her husband. "She was strong if not stronger than he was," Young said.

News of her death led to tributes to King across Atlanta, including a moment of silence in the Georgia Capitol and piles of flowers placed at the tomb of her slain husband. Flags at the King Center - the institute devoted to the civil rights leader's legacy - were lowered to half-staff.

"She wore her grief with grace. She exerted her leadership with dignity," said the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with King's husband in 1957.

She supported her husband during the most dangerous and tumultuous days of the civil rights movement. After his death in Memphis, Tenn., on April 4, 1968, the young widow said she was "more determined than ever that my husband's dream will become a reality."

In 1969, she founded the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta and used it to confront hunger, unemployment, voting rights and racism.

"The center enables us to go out and struggle against the evils in our society," she often said.

She also accused movie and TV companies, video arcades, gun manufacturers and toy makers of promoting violence.

King became a symbol in her own right of her husband's struggle for peace and brotherhood, presiding with a quiet, stoic dignity over seminars and conferences.

She pushed politicians for more than a decade to have her husband's birthday observed as a national holiday, achieving success in 1986.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was with her husband when he was assassinated, said Tuesday that she understood that every time her husband left home, there was the chance he might not come back. Jackson pronounced her a "freedom fighter."

"Like all great champions she learned to function with pain and keep serving," he said, adding: "She kept marching. She did not flinch."

In Washington, President Bush hailed her as "a remarkable and courageous woman and a great civil rights leader."

After her stroke, King missed the annual King celebration in Atlanta two weeks ago but appeared with her children at an awards dinner a few days earlier, smiling from her wheelchair but not speaking. The crowd gave her a standing ovation.

Despite her repeated calls for unity among civil rights groups, her own children have been divided over whether to sell the King Center to the National Park Service and let the family focus less on grounds maintenance and more on King's message. Two of the four children were strongly against such a move.

Gov. Sonny Perdue ordered flags at all state buildings to be flown at half-staff and offered to allow King's body to lie in repose at the Georgia Capitol. There was no immediate response to the offer, the governor's office said.

King died at Santa Monica Health Institute in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, south of San Diego, said her sister, Edythe Scott Bagley of Cheyney, Pa.

Coretta Scott was studying voice at the New England Conservatory of Music and planning on a singing career when a friend introduced her to King, a young Baptist minister studying at Boston University.

"She said she wanted me to meet a very promising young minister from Atlanta," King once said, adding with a laugh: "I wasn't interested in meeting a young minister at that time."

She recalled that on their first date he told her: "You know, you have everything I ever wanted in a woman. We ought to get married someday." Eighteen months later, in 1953, they did.

The couple moved to Montgomery, Ala., where he became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and helped lead the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott that Rosa Parks set in motion when she refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus. With that campaign, King began enacting his philosophy of nonviolent, direct social action.

Over the years, King was with her husband in his finest hours. She was at his side as he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. She marched beside him from Selma, Ala., into Montgomery in 1965 on the triumphant drive for a voting rights law.

Only days after his death, she flew to Memphis with three of her children to lead thousands marching in honor of her slain husband and to plead for his cause.

"I think you rise to the occasion in a crisis," she once said. "I think the Lord gives you strength when you need it. God was using us - and now he's using me, too."

Her husband's womanizing had been an open secret during the height of the civil rights movement. In January, a new book, "At Canaan's Edge" by Taylor Branch, put his infidelity back in the spotlight. It said that not long before he was assassinated, King confessed a long-standing affair to his wife while she was recovering from a hysterectomy.

The King family, especially Coretta Scott King and her father-in-law, Martin Luther King Sr., were highly visible in 1976 when former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter ran for president. When an integration dispute at Carter's Plains church created a furor, Coretta Scott King campaigned at Carter's side the next day.

She later was named by Carter to serve as part of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, where Young was the ambassador.

In 1997, she spoke out in favor of a push to grant a trial for James Earl Ray, who pleaded guilty to killing her husband and then recanted.

"Even if no new light is shed on the facts concerning my husband's assassination, at least we and the nation can have the satisfaction of knowing that justice has run its course in this tragedy," she told a judge.

The trial never took place; Ray died in 1998.

King was born April 27, 1927, in Perry County, Ala. Her father ran a country store. To help her family during the Depression, young Coretta picked cotton. Later, she worked as a waitress to earn her way through Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

In 1994, she stepped down as head of the King Center, passing the job to son Dexter, who in turn passed the job on to her other son, Martin III, in 2004. Dexter continued to serve as the center's chief operating officer. Martin III also has served on the Fulton County (Ga.) commission and as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, co-founded by his father in 1957. Daughter Yolanda became an actress and the youngest child, Bernice, became a Baptist minister.

In 1993, on the 25th anniversary of her husband's death, King said the war in Vietnam that her husband opposed "has been replaced by an undeclared war on our central cities, a war being fought by gangs with guns for drugs."

"The value of life in our cities has become as cheap as the price of a gun," she said.

In London, she stood in 1969 in the same carved pulpit in St. Paul's Cathedral where her husband preached five years earlier.

"Many despair at all the evil and unrest and disorder in the world today," she preached, "but I see a new social order and I see the dawn of a new day."

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press

Published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Jan. 31, 2006.
Memories & Condolences
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25183 entries
April 2, 2019
Your memory alone is soo inspiring to me! Especially coming from a time when we all were much differnt with each other. Your perseverance always and forever...Amen
min mike ptemne
April 7, 2018
You have guided the way for black woman in the world today making the true definition of a strong black woman in this cold world you have led you husband legacy since 1968 and continued to succeed in making his wisies and dreams stay alive you where a wonderful woman and always will be may you rest in glorified heaven you and your husband haved changed lives for us to be successful in who we truly are despite our race thank you thank you and thank you
Lekideley Lafleur
November 27, 2017
Thank you Ms. King....for being the great woman and wife that you were to all citizens and your husband. You both together made a dream come true..i wish your husband was still alive to see his dream come true. Equal rights to all n white
Gina Rizzo
September 25, 2017
Mary Roberson
August 11, 2017
Coretta Scott King was a woman of incomparable strength and humility!
Robin LEWis
July 11, 2017
REST in Peace, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, you were and you still is an inspiritation to me. I Think of you and Dr.King often.
myrtle Murphy
July 11, 2017
Myrtle Murphy
November 1, 2016
For a women who soul and spirit lives on in all of us that knows what the struggle is really all about.. Hopefully the new generation will wake up and watch whom they decide to vote for to be president of the united stated 2016"
D Mills
July 27, 2016
Always in my heart, mind and soul! Aspiring everyday to be as great as you were.
Ms. T Mo.
July 1, 2016
A well respected and dignified figure in the community and around the world. Thanks for the hard work in the CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT,....YOU ARE TRULY MISSED
Valenda Newell
May 20, 2016
think you if it was not for you we would be slave
jermaine lockett
October 31, 2015
Rip Mrs.king
Dalantae Hicks
October 8, 2015
Nearly a decade has passed. We have not forgotten you. We shall remember your strength and courage forever. Your Love is traveling beyond forever. For the world love you.
Rose Miller
October 6, 2015
Just thinking about how if you and your husband Dr. Martin Luther King were still here how different things might be! Rest in peace!
Marie Irick
September 2, 2015
I had the greatest pleasure to have met you in the early 1980s. You were such a warm,and loving lady. Had open arms for this southern Caucasian young girl. You welcomed me into your home,so very gracious. You keep my eye's and heart open in these troubled times. Rest in Peace sweet Lady
Robin Russell,Guilbeaux
June 11, 2015
An admiralable women.And Inspiring American.
James MacNeal
April 3, 2015
Thank you!
Ron Helton
January 19, 2015
A life well lived. We'll see you in paradise Luke 23:43.
George Little
April 17, 2014
i love you coretta may the angels and god keep ill continue to pray for u you are a women of peace u and your husband are together i love you both your a hero forever
sindey turner
February 28, 2014
this a woundful day
kenya richardson
February 27, 2014
You are my hero love you
January 31, 2014
May the angels lead you into paradise. May the martyrs come to welcome you and ehere lazarus lies no more, may you find peace. God bless you Coretta. Thank you for all the struggles you fought for a better world.
Francesca Trotman
January 3, 2014
And no resident will say: “I am sick…”Isa 33:24. We can expect this to be a reality in the near future; perhaps you or I may see those missing from our lives due to sickness that leads to death. Prayers go out to the surviving family and friends.
January 1, 2014
May the God (Ps 83:18) of comfort bring peace and strength to the King family.
November 25, 2013
Grace is what she gave the world.
ladonna warmack
August 1, 2013
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:10 Thank you Mrs. King for your grace, your humility, and for your courage.We as a people thank you so much for giving of yourself so unselfishly and for your tireless efforts in ongoing struggle for Civil Rights all across the world. Thank you our mother and 1st lady of the Civil Rights Movement R.I.P.
Edward Byers
July 8, 2013
To all who strive for peace against others hostilities in the work place , in the streets and in the world.
Miss J.
June 20, 2013
God bless the king family !
Kim Jones
May 30, 2013
I learned to be humble and meek. I learned to walk with God. Thank You for showing me how to face adversity.
Nicole Lynn Patti
May 6, 2013
April 10, 2013
i am so sorry for ur lose
adrianna brumfield
March 18, 2013
March 8, 2013
tej l. rodriguez
tej rodriguez
March 4, 2013
Please know that the God of all comfort is with your family and will continue to help you to endure the loss of your loved one. {Romans 15:5}
G. B.
February 21, 2013
Rest in Peace Coretta! I was just thinking about the many King Family trials and tribulations!! I am lighting a candle in rememberance of you and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Cassandra Horton
February 9, 2013
Thanks for all the hard work that you did after your Husband die.
Latanya Jenkins
February 9, 2013
Latanya Jenkins
Latanya Jenkins
February 4, 2013
The memory of your triumphs, struggles, accomplishments, ups, downs, highs, lows, peaks, and valleys, will forever live on in my heart and throughout the world. Thank you.
Karen Patton
February 3, 2013
God rest ur soul Mrs.King.
letitia wilkerson
January 24, 2013
May we continue to follow in Dr King and your foot steps. I wish Mr &Mrs King could have been here to welcome our fist black president. What a blessing for all people to have Obama for 2 terms as USA president.
Janie & Nathan Shelby
January 24, 2013
May we continue to follow in Dr King and your foot steps. I wish Mr &Mrs King could have been here to welcome our fist black president. What a blessing for all people to have Obama for 2 terms as USA president.
Mr Nathan Shelby
January 24, 2013
May we continue to follw in Dr King and your foot steps. I wish Mr &Mrs King could have been here to welcome our fist black president. What a blessing for all people to have Obama for 2 terms as USA president.
Mr&Mr Nathan Shelby
January 24, 2013
May we continue to follow in Dr King and your foot steps. I wish Mr &Mrs King could have been here to welcome our fist black president. What a blessing for all people to have Obama for 2 terms as USA president.
Mrs .Janie Shelby
January 24, 2013
May we continue to follow in Dr King and your foot steps. I wish Mr &Mrs King could have been here to welcome our fist black president. What a blessing for all people to have Obama for 2 terms as USA president.
Mrs .Janir Shelby
January 24, 2013
May we continue to follow in Dr King and your foot steps. I wish Mr &Mrs King could have been here to welcome our fist black president. What a blessing for all people to have Obama for 2 terms as USA president.
Mr Shelby
January 22, 2013
I would to thank The King Family for all of their sacrifices and sense of duty to our peoples...
Jackie Brown
January 21, 2013
Brandon Pennix
January 21, 2013
God Bless you n your husband. We've came so far! ;-)
Reavis Skinner
January 20, 2013
I would like to think u nd ur husband for all y'all have done for me.
Kimberly Bradley
January 18, 2013
we thank for all u have done god bless u and your family have a blessed day each and every day!
jarvarius portis
December 2, 2012
November 22, 2012
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust."
J Gayle Gaymon
September 28, 2012
Always remembering your love for all people.
Myra Barnes Tullis
August 29, 2012
Remembering your great love story today and always.
Mary Green
August 29, 2012
Mary Green
June 26, 2012
Forever remembered with love.
David Wright
June 5, 2012
Sharon Bingham
April 30, 2012
Incredible woman and awesome husband for fighting for the right for us African Americans
Brandon Pennix
April 27, 2012
After visiting the MLK Memorial in DC recently, it's sobering to reflect on the Civil Rights hard work that Mrs King did alongside her husband. Mrs. King's family is no doubt proud of her contributions to the world. As spiritual people, may the words of Psalm 34:17,18 be of comfort to the King family.
April 27, 2012
we all love them
makiya davis
April 22, 2012
April 9, 2012
God bless you
Janice Gonzalez
March 13, 2012
yes i am i love him so much rip:martin l.king jr
March 13, 2012
i love the king family allways be with your family not your friends
jazzmine smith
March 13, 2012
i love coretta scott king
i love martin luther king jr.
jazzmine smith
March 13, 2012
i love ms.coretta scott king and im only 11 years old and i know alot about her and i realy miss martin luther king jr
rip; martin luther king rip;coretta scott king i will allways love you with all my heart okay
love:jazzmine .s
jazzmine smith
March 13, 2012
yes i am i love him so much rip:martin l.king jr
jazzmine smith
March 6, 2012
Blessed are the peace makers Mathew 5;9
Gerald Artis
February 22, 2012
Rest in peace Mrs. Coretta Scott King,

Your Sister and Friend
February 14, 2012
Mrs. King,

You are missed, rest in peace.
February 10, 2012
our prayer's are with you
January 25, 2012
Coretta was such a remarkable lady.It was very sad to hear that she left our world,and may she rest in peace. Brianna walker(chica,ILL)
brianna walker
November 2, 2011
To the memory of a lady who has captured the minds and hearts of millions of people. I am only one but I humbly submit this poem to her memory and to her family

Love Found A Way

By Mark Anthony Grubb

I was crucified on Calvary's hill,

It was the plan and my father's will.

The cost of sin was mine to pay,

My father's love had found a way.

Hanging there I saw your face,

And every soul in the human race.

I recalled that day when I was born

How I was loved on Christmas morn.

Son of man turning thirty three

Was born to die upon this tree.

I felt your pain and all your strife,

I surrendered all and gave my life.

The sky turned dark as angels cried

I tasted death, but I did not die.

I did God's will and did obey

My father's love had found a way.
Mark Grubb
September 30, 2011
May the God of comfort and tender mercies continue to comfort you and your family.

Know that very shortly death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things will have passed away.

Please accept my sincere condolences.

D. Clark
August 12, 2011
To my dearest family, some things I'd like to say...
but first of all, to let you know, that I arrived okay.
I'm writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with God above.
Here, there's no more tears of sadness; here is just eternal love.

Please do not be unhappy just because I'm out of sight.
Remember that I'm with you every morning, noon and night.
That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through,
God picked me up and hugged me and He said, "I welcome you."

It's good to have you back again; you were missed while you were gone.
As for your dearest family, they'll be here later on.
I need you here badly; you're part of my plan.
There's so much that we have to do, to help our mortal man.

God gave me a list of things, that he wished for me to do.
And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you.
And when you lie in bed at night, the day's chores put to flight.
God and I are closest to the middle of the night.

When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years
because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears.
But do not be afraid to cry; it does relieve the pain.
Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain.

I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned.
But if I were to tell you, you wouldn't understand.
But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is o'er.
I'm closer to you now, than I ever was before.

There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb;
but together we can do it by taking one day at a time.
It was always my philosophy and I'd like it for you too...
that as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.

If you can help somebody who's in sorrow and pain,
then you can say to God at night......"My day was not in vain."
And now I am contented....that my life has been worthwhile,
knowing as I passed along the way, I made somebody smile.

So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low,
just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go.
When you're walking down the street, and you've got me on your mind;
I'm walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.

And when it's time for you to go.... from that body to be free,
remember you're not're coming here to me.

Ruth Ann Mahaffey (author)
©Copyright 1998
Miss CC
July 26, 2011
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
July 19, 2011
what a great woman. Mrs king sted up for whats was right . We Miss You ms King.
The great woman behind the great man , now they walk with in his kingdom!! you both will alwats be in my Memory for ever. we love and miss you.
Brandy Sheffield
June 9, 2011
The Great Woman behind the Great Man, now they walk with GOD! The Promise & The Dream Fulfilled. Memory Eternal!" YOU BOTH ARE ALWAYS IN MY MEMORY & MY PRAYERS ARE WITH YOUR FAMILY LENORE CALVERT IN KANSAS CITY MISSOURI
May 30, 2011

May 10, 2011
you will be missed
marina scott
March 26, 2011
Mrs. King's loyalty and durability were examples of her dedication. I am happy to have witnessed the courageousness of Mrs. King and that of her husband, the magnificent Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Doris Wright
March 14, 2011
The Great Woman behind the Great Man, now they walk with GOD! The Promise & The Dream Fulfilled.
Memory Eternal!
Rev. Dr. Nicholas V. Gamvas
March 8, 2011
Grief can be so hard but our memories help us to cope. May all of our memories of Mrs. Coretta remain before our eyes always and may the peace that only God can give ,rest with her family. 2 Cor 1:3,4
F Flowers
February 23, 2011
My deepest sympathy to the beautiful, careing King family. Mrs Coretta was an amazing woman to millions and millions of people. Her beautiful memories will live on. REST IN PEACE MRS KING 'AJOB WELL DONE WHILE YOU WERE WITH US HERE ON EARTH'
Verna Jones & Family
February 23, 2011
A Beautiful Courageous Black Woman. God Bless her Soul and Family. My deepest Sympathy. May God Keep you.
Theresa Hall
February 15, 2011
My deepest sympathy to the King family.

Mrs. King will truly be remembered by those of us who were blessed to be in her time; and for future generations who will learn of her and Martin's historical marches for freedom and equality. beautiful voice and grace as
B.R. Brooks
February 11, 2011
I met Mrs. King when she visited Ramapo College many years ago. I was truly blessed to not only meet a beautiful Chrisitan lady but a inspiration to so many. I had the priviledge of not only conversing with her, but also have a pictuire of the two of us. I will cherish this just like the picture with Mrs. Parks and will proudly share this experience with all. Rest in Peace Mrs.King
Jeanette Lane
February 7, 2011
this is one of the best facts i ever
heard about Coretta Scott King i know that she was Martin Luther Kings wife she is known f the first balck woman in the united
February 7, 2011
she was Mr kings wife
Jose Calvario
February 7, 2011
this is one of the best facts i ever
heard about Coretta Scott King i know that she was Martin Luther Kings wife she is known f the first balck woman in the
Kimberly Calvario
January 31, 2011
I was a youg woman in my twenties when Dr. King was marching for better housing in Chicago. Violence broke out and I remember how frighten I was. It took me a while to really appreciate what the strugle was about. Mrs. King was truly a African American lady. I always thought she was so graceful. We all long for the day when such strugles will not be necessary. When people don't have to loose their lives just to be equal. In God's eyes we are all equal and He is the only one that counts,nothing or no one else matters.
January 27, 2011
my condolences to the king family
i will pour out my spirit unto you, i make known my word unto you prov,1-23
dr fly
b waddey sr
November 16, 2010
please accept my sincere condolences during this time of your loss. May yu find comfort in knowing that God "is near to those broken at heart and those crushed in spirit he saves." (Psalm 34:18)
November 2, 2010
September 17, 2010
To Family and Friends Mrs King will truly be missed, an amazing solider whom God has called home to Be In His Army of Love Mercy And Grace, God Bless
Celestine Bradley
May 23, 2010
My condolences to the family of Mrs. King.I saw Mrs. King over 6 years ago, on a small island called Sunset Key, attending a Party with Ms.Winfrey and several other close friends. Mrs. King represented elegance and dignity.
There is no doubt she is in God's Memory, awaiting the resurrection on a beautiful paradise earth where sickness and death will be a thing of the pass.--Revelation 21:4
May 11, 2010
Stongest, and bravest woman, i have ever known...God bless you Coretta, and no doubt, i know he really will..
Swifty Pee
May 5, 2010
Weep no more. God has you in his kingdom. Your journey is done here on
earth. Thank you Mrs. King for fighting
for the poor, old and all people.
God bless.
LaDora Wilcox
April 29, 2010
You have stood by the man who for many years strive to bring peace and serenity and the right to exist.God will make things right in it's own due time.Dan 2:44
March 30, 2010
For Coretta...


Do not weep for me when I no longer dwell among the wonders of the earth; for my larger self is free, and my soul rejoices on the other side of pain...on the other side of darkness.

Do not weep for me, for I am a ray of sunshine that touches your skin, a tropical breeze upon your face, the hush of joy within your heart and the innocence of babes in mothers arms.

I am the hope in a darkened night. And, in your hour of need, I will be there to comfort you. I will share your tears, your joys, your fears, your disappointments and your triumphs.

Do not weep for me, for I am cradled
in the arms of God. I walk with the angels, and hear the music beyond the stars.

Do not weep for me, for I am within you;
I am peace, love, I am a soft wind that caresses the flowers. I am the calm that follows a raging storm. I am an autumns leaf that floats among the garden of God, and I am pure white snow that softly falls upon your hand.

Do not weep for me, for I shall never die, as long as you remember me...
with a smile and a sigh.

© Joe Fazio
~ /Joe Fazio,
Beverly Hills, California
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