Martin Luther King Jr. is often the first name that comes to mind when one thinks of a civil rights movement leader. King was an unparalleled speaker, an inspiration to millions in the fight for freedom. Though his work and dedication were great, there are many other major activists whose contributions to the progress of this nation deserve to be noted as well, many of them being women. Coretta Scott King is known as the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but more than that, she was also a dedicated civil rights activist. She was a champion of civil rights, passionately against the death penalty, as well as dedicated to gay rights.
After the death of MLK Jr., Coretta Scott King dedicated endless time and effort to have her husband’s legacy recognized. Her dedication resulted in the national holiday on January 15th: Martin Luther King Jr. day, a tribute to his life, death, and dedication to the economic, political, and social advancement of black people. King never allowed the death of her husband never stopped her solo activism work, and created the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, in Atlanta, Georgia after tireless organizing and fundraising in 1981. There she served as the president and executive officer until 1995, when her son Dexter Scott took over the center. She wrote her autobiography in 1969, named My Life With Martin Luther King Jr.
King protested in south africa against the oppressive system of apartheid as a part of the International Peace Movement. King was also a regular columnist writing on social issues and a commentator on CNN until her death in 2006, following a stroke the year before. She was named “Woman of the Year” two times, once in 1960 and 1968. The Coretta Scott King Award, created by the American Library Association, was an award named after King which is presented to a Black author or Illustrator every year for inspirational or educational work. An author, wife, mother, and activist, Coretta Scott King was an incredible inspiration and tireless worker for the rights of others. One of her famous quotes captures her efforts of equality for all, especially her dedication to gay rights,
“Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism, and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and person hood.”
Like the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., we should strive to remember that of Coretta, her work, achievements, and dedication to eradicating inequality anywhere that it exists.