Coretta Scott King - Wikipedia
It was in Boston where she met Martin Luther King Jr., who was working their phone rang incessantly with hate calls, and Coretta often had to. Coretta Scott King described “a major, high-level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband. In the five decades since Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead by an assassin at age . He has claimed that while in Montreal he met a man named Raul, . “Hoover was so angry, he had hate in his heart. Coretta Scott King was the wife of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. racism (a dislike or disrespect of someone solely based on his or her race) was very much It was in Boston that she met Martin Luther King Jr. They were married on.
Edythe insisted that her sister was an excellent choice for Martin Luther King Jr. With a wedding set in June, only four months away at that time, Coretta still did not have a commitment to marrying King and consulted with her sister in a letter sent just before Easter Vacation. Coretta had the vow to obey her husband removed from the ceremony, which was unusual for the time.
After completing her degree in voice and piano at the New England Conservatory, she moved with her husband to Montgomery, Alabamain September Before long, we found ourselves in the middle of the Montgomery bus boycott, and Martin was elected leader of the protest movement.
As the boycott continued, I had a growing sense that I was involved in something so much greater than myself, something of profound historic importance. I came to the realization that we had been thrust into the forefront of a movement to liberate oppressed people, not only in Montgomery but also throughout our country, and this movement had worldwide implications.
I felt blessed to have been called to be a part of such a noble and historic cause. It was a sacrifice for Coretta, who had to give up her dreams of becoming a classical singer. Her devotion to the cause while giving up on her own ambitions would become symbolic of the actions of African American women during the movement.
Coretta became a member of the choir and taught Sunday school, as well as participating in the Baptist Training Union and Missionary Society.
Wallace, she "captivated her concert audience. In JanuaryKing answered numerous phone calls threatening her husband's life, as rumors intended to make African Americans dissatisfied with King's husband spread that Martin had purchased a Buick station wagon for her. By the end of the boycott, Mrs. King and her husband had come to believe in nonviolent protests as a way of expression consistent with biblical teachings.
The three were not harmed. Yolanda was their first grandchild. King's husband joined them the next day, at dinner time. During Martin Luther King Sr. King picked up her daughter and went upstairs, which he would express dismay in later and tell her that she "had run out on him.
With a performance sponsored by the Omicron Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, King changed a few songs in the first part of the show but still continued with the basic format used two years earlier at the New York gala as she told the story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The concert was important for Coretta as a way to continue her professional career and participate in the movement.
The concert gave the audience "an emotional connection to the messages of social, economic, and spiritual transformation. Her husband was arrested outside the courtroom for "loitering" and "failing to obey an officer. At that time, she learned that he had been stabbed while signing copies of his book Stride Toward Freedom on September 20, King rushed to see her husband, and stayed with him for the remainder of his time in the hospital recovering.
The three were invited to hundreds of engagements. The two returned to the United States on March 10, The two went to the rear of the home, where Yolanda was sleeping and Coretta called the First Baptist Church and reported the bombing to the woman who answered the phone. He was confronted by an angry crowd of his supporters, who had brought guns.
He was able to turn them away with an impromptu speech.
Ernest Walters, the lone witness, did not manage to get the license plate number because of how quickly the events transpired. The two arrived nearly at the same time, along with her husband's mother and brother. Coretta's father Obie said he would take her and her daughter back to Marion if his son-in-law did not take them to Atlanta. Coretta refused the proclamation and insisted on staying with her husband.
Vivian wrote "That night Coretta lost her fear of dying. She committed herself more deeply to the freedom struggle, as Martin had done four days previously when jailed for the first time in his life.
After MLK's Death, Coretta Scott King Went To Memphis To Finish His Work : NPR
Kennedy phone call[ edit ] Martin Luther King was jailed on October 19,for picketing in a department store. After being released three days later, Coretta's husband was sent back to jail on October 22 for driving with an Alabama license while being a resident of Georgia and was sent to jail for four months of hard labor.
After her husband's arrest, King believed he would not make it out alive and telephoned her friend Harris Wofford and cried while saying "They're going to kill him. I know they are going to kill him. Kennedy was campaigning at the time and told Shriver of King's fears for her husband. After Shriver waited to be with Kennedy alone, he suggested that he telephone King and express sympathy.
Sometime afterward, Bobby Kennedy obtained King's release from prison. Martin Luther King Sr. I know this must be very hard on you. I understand you are expecting a baby, and I just want you to know that I was thinking about you and Dr.
If there is anything I can do to help, please feel free to call on me. After King and her daughter were due to come home, Martin rushed back to drive them himself. President Kennedy was with his father Joseph P.
Kennedy, Srwho was not feeling well. King's call to the White House switchboard. He was allowed to speak with her on the phone and told her to inform Walker of Kennedy's involvement. King had issued her own statement regarding the aid of the president instead of doing as her husband had told her and report to Wyatt Walkerthis according to author Taylor Branchmade her portrayed by reports as "an anxious new mother who may have confused her White House fantasies with reality.
The march was timed to celebrate the group's second anniversary and celebrated the successful completion of the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Coretta and Martin learned of John F.
Kennedy's assassination when reports initially indicated he had only been seriously wounded. King joined her husband upstairs and watched Walter Cronkite announce the president's death. King sat with her visibly shaken husband following the confirmation.
The FBI learned that King would be out of office by the time the tapes were mailed and that his wife would be the one to open it. Edgar Hoover even advised to mail "it from a southern state. King would say "I couldn't make much out of it, it was just a lot of mumbo-jumbo. Edgar Hoover to denounce King by revelations in his personal life. Johnson presidency[ edit ] Most prominently, perhaps, she worked hard to pass the Civil Rights Act of King spoke with Malcolm X days before his assassination.
Malcolm X told her that he was not in Alabama to make trouble for her husband, but instead to make white people have more appreciation for King's protests, seeing his alternative. Her father "caught a glimpse of America's true potential" and for the called it "the greatest day in the whole history of America" after seeing chanting for his daughter's husband by both Caucasians and African Americans.
By and large, men have formed the leadership in the civil rights struggle but In honor of the first woman elected to the House of Representatives, the group was called the Jeannette Rankin Brigade. Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ah, and I remember when he, ah, ah, continued to, ah, you know, to feel that, you know, as a person of conscience he, he needed to come forth and make the statement. And it was like, you know, I, whatever the risk is, you know, I must take it now, ah, because it's the right thing to do.
And, he finally, of course did take the position, as I said, and, ah, he, ah, was, ah, attacked by many of his colleagues. And I remember one day when he was home, ah, he had been traveling for a few days and he happened to be home that day.
And in the morning of that day he started, ah, talking about the fact that he was very disappointed in Whitney Young's comments and, ah, Whitney had made some very negative comments about his statement and he said, "I can understand the older leaders like Roy Wilkins and others but I don't understand Whitney.
He's a younger man.
So I said to him, "Well, Martin, if you feel that way, why don't you pick up the telephone and call Whitney. Because, ah, whenever, whenever, ah, ah, you feel like that I think it's the right thing to do and you normally would do this. Why don't you just go ahead and do it? So he said, "I believe I will. They talked for an hour and I heard him rehearsing the history of the Vietnam conflict, starting back in the '40s and going on up to the present time. And I could tell that Whitney was saying "Well, Martin, you understand this.
You know that history. I didn't know that. And I heard him saying, you know, as he was talking for a long time. And I was the happiest person in the world when I could come out and take a position on, against that evil and unjust war. The fact is that nothing changed in terms of the reality of the reaction against him.
Ah, it was a very, very agonizing experience, ah, because he knew that he was right on this issue. Ah, and of course history has borne him out on that, ah, and I think it was the timing was right. It was, ah, something that took a lot of courage, ah, to do. Ah, but I think that the fact that he took that position, ah, put him in, ah, put him in, I think, in, into a, a relationship in history, I believe, that, ah, you know, that few people stand in because there are times in your life when you, when you have to make those difficult decisions which can cost you the ultimate sacrifice.
And I think that, ah, that position, as well as his, ah, his continuing efforts, ah, with the Poor People's Campaign, ah, combined, really, ah, was the beginning of the, the, ah, so-called, end of his, his life.
You have to pay the ultimate sacrifice if you stand up for what you really believe in. But I think there's something greater than that that you don't try to save your life because, I think, history was moved forward as a result of the position that he took. In the summer of '67 how was Dr. King feeling as he had taken a stand against the war.
Cities were flaring up. People were looking to him for answers. Well, Martin had a tendency to take things upon himself, take the blame for things that he didn't deserve the blame for. Whenever there was violence, whenever violence erupted any place, ah, in the country, particularly racial violence, ah, he would always feel that he was going to be blamed and he would say, "Well, you know, they're going to hold me responsible.
- Coretta Scott King
- After MLK's Death, Coretta Scott King Went To Memphis To Finish His Work
- Coretta Scott King Biography
Ah, and I kept saying, "But you are not responsible. You know you're not responsible, Martin. You are the one that's trying to make sense out of all this chaos. And, ah, so you're not responsible. And you can't blame yourself for this. And, ah, he felt that, that, ah, that all the violence was the result, as a result of those expectations that were unfulfilled.
And, ah, he felt that, you know, he knew that the nation had the resources, ah, didn't have the will or the commitment. So he was trying to figure out a way to generate that. And, ah, I think it was somewhere in the late summer that, ah, he was in discussion with Marian Wright Edelman, and she had worked in Mississippi and was talking about the conditions in Mississippi and had some, some ideas about, you know, how, ah, this whole, ah, campaign to help poor people could be addressed.
And it's not clear to me who suggested the idea of a mule train, ah, starting in Marks, Mississippi. But I remember he came home and he was talking about this whole idea of a mule train starting in Mississippi, using the mule and the wagon as a symbol of poor farmers.
Ah, Marks, Mississippi was I guess about the poorest county in the, in the United States at that time. And, ah, to dramatize the plight of the poor, this mule train would start there and would go through Mississippi and pick up other people and, ah, the idea was to start and go all the way through Alabama and the Carolinas and on up to Washington.
Ah, and, ah, you know, have a, a campaign, which would be the Poor People's Campaign. But there was, there was much more to it than that. But the whole idea was to bring poor people together around the issue of, of economic justice and lack of jobs and income. And, ah, so he, he got excited about this idea and started developing it further. So by, ah, March of 19, ah, 68 he had called together, ah, leaders of the poor people in this country which included Whites from Appalachia, Hispanics from, ah, from, ah, ah, what, New York, and from, ah, ah, New Mexico and other places, ah, California and, ah, Native Americans and Blacks of course.
And this was the, ah, the first restaurant in Atlanta Hotel where Black and White people could, ah, come to meet and have ah, have, have dinner and so on. I decided that this was a very important, historic occasion and I wanted to be there. So I did attend this meeting. And, you know, it was so exciting to see, ah, Native Americans, ah, Hispanics, and, ah, ah, White leaders from Appalachia and of course Blacks, sitting down and talking about, ah, what they had in common.
And Martin invited them to join the Poor People's Campaign. Because by that time they had developed a concept to the point where, you know, they were ready to invite people in. And I said to him, "Like most great events in history, that are historic in nature, the press will miss this one too. But I want to be there.
Ah, the fact is that, ah, he worked, after he got the idea of what could, what could happen to arouse the conscience of the nation around this issue and just legislatively lobbying, going to Washington with the poor people, and he said, "We would stay there and we would camp out and we would continue to, to, ah, to lobby the congress and the various departments until something was done because, you know, America can address this problem.
And the press asked him, "Dr. King, ah, what if, ah, if you fail? It will be America that fails. And that the nation would respond.
He said, "And we're going for broke. And we'll go there and we will stay. And I think that, that in that process somehow, ah, you know, along the way he was detoured and of course he never was able to lead that campaign. So, begin again with you're talking about your husband's searching for an answer to these problems. Martin had, ah, had been, ah, searching for a, a creative solution to, ah, the problems that existed during the summer of Ah, you know, the, the poverty that was, ah, growing, ah, the number of poor people in, in this country, ah, of, all races.
He, ah, he had not been able to find that, that, that creative solution that he was looking for until he, ah, had a conversation with Marian Wright, and she had been, ah, in Mississippi, ah, and started talking to him about some of the things that she had experienced there. And, ah, this, this whole, ah, the whole question of how do you dramatize the plight of poor people in the country, poverty at its worst, and he felt that somehow if he didn't come up with a, with a dramatic way of doing that the nation would perhaps respond.
And also at the same time you'd get other people involved. Ah, so the, the, ah, the thing, the thing that happened was, When he came home, of course, he was excited, really excited. I mean he left home, you know, kind of down. He had been going through sort of a depression, you know. Ah, he had been depressed because there was so much violence. And he knew that the nation couldn't survive this way.
Something had to give. Ah, and, and the more violence there was, the more, ah, some people would blame Martin Luther King for the violence.
And, ah, so when he came home that evening, he was real excited, you know, about this idea of a Poor People's Campaign starting in Marks, Mississippi with a mule train and going all the way to Washington, D. America at the Racial Crossroads - ; Episode And, ah, he talked about it and during the fall period he worked very hard and all into the early part of the year.
'I am not a symbol, I am an activist': the untold story of Coretta Scott King
And in the spring he went all over this country talking about it and promoting the idea and most people who knew him felt that he was working as if this was going to be his last job. I mean he really was, we were very concerned about him, ah, but the fact is that, you know, he could see, I think, a way that this could all come together and he felt very confident that this could be a real test of how non violence can, can work, ah, to change the lives of people economically.
When the press asked him, "Dr. King, what if you fail?
It will be that America failed. And he said, "If I be the sole person on earth who clings to the belief and practice of non-violence, I will be that person.
King, I'd like to get a sense of the pace of your husband's meeting with the people who are organizing in February and March and let's focus on March 23rd when he took Marty and Dexter with him to rural Georgia. Martin was away so much of the time that, ah, he looked forward to occasions when he could take the children with him, and Marty and Dexter were able to go with him to Georgia, rural Georgia.
And, ah, they were, ah, so excited it meant that they could spend, you know, a whole day, whatever time it was with their father, and, ah, ah, now, they, they were just genuinely excited and, ah, Martin, too was excited because, you know, he was very concerned about his father role and, ah, spending time with the children.
And he saw this as a time he could spend with his sons. And he knew how much it meant to them, but he also it meant, it also meant a great deal to him.Coretta Scott King Speaks Out in Posthumous Memoir: 'This Family Was Chosen'
And, Dexter of course, being younger, I'm sure, he, he got tired quicker than Marty. So he was, ah, talking about how, you know, how, how daddy, ah, worked so hard and how he, you know, went so long and how he seemed never to get tired and that was the way it was. It seemed that he, ah, of course he got tired. But I think he was inspired with the whole idea but it was hard work to do what he did.
I mean it is very tiring, you know, to travel and, you know, it was like a, almost like a political campaign days of the year. I would say to, to Martin, you know, "The movement is like a political campaign, but you never take a break, it never ends, it's continuous, ah, year-after-year. But, ah, I think one of the wonderful moments in the family, was when the children could be with him for that length of time.
So, can you tell us how your husband felt when the march in Memphis on March 28 ended in violence. He was very depressed over the whole situation, and the fact that the march had been aborted. I think at first he did not really know what caused it. Ah, he said that he had arrived in Memphis and got off the plane and went directly to the head of the line. Normally, ah, the staff of SCLC was involved in the organizing process.
Ah, that is getting ready for the march, and usually if there are any problems and conflicts within the community, they would know about it.
There were no SCLC staff people present in Memphis; it was just the local people, the sanitation workers and the local committee. However, there were some SCLC board people who lived there, and, ah, so he was not apprised of the fact that there was a conflict within the community.
There were some youngsters who were, who had some problems with the way things were being done, and I guess they, had this assumption was that, ah, that had been smoothed over, ah, but Martin was not aware of this.
That is by the leaders had assumed that it had been smoothed over. So, as the march--when the march began--when the rock throwing started, ah, Martin was very nervous because he knew that if violence be started, if it broke out it could lead in any direction, and, ah, ah, he also felt that he would be held accountable and responsible, although he, you know, he, he really didn't know anything about the background of it at all.
Ah, so when he called he was, he was very distressed, but he was also, ah, I would say depressed. But, the fact is that, you know, he got blamed. Ah, I did everything I could to try to encourage him and, ah, all, but he was obviously very much depressed and down in spirits. Ah, I understand that he had a press conference that night and, ah, the press, of course sensed that he was, you know, he was, he was very much depressed, but the next morning, ah, when he had a press conference again, I understand that, you know, he was almost like a new person.
Ah, he, he, he, ah, seemed to be, ah, ah, you know really inspired. He spoke with a lot of energy in his voice. So what did Dr. King tell you about the press conference the next morning? Ah, Martin said the next morning, when he took--conducted the press conference he, ah, sort of had that take-charge attitude, and, normally, you know, he would let someone else, ah, give an introduction and he would then come on.
But, he started himself, and, ah, and he was telling them, you know, what he planned to do. And, I think the idea was to, to, ah, you know, go on and have another march and so on. The press after the conference, asked him, "Dr.
King," ah, I mean during the conference they asked him, "What happened since, ah, in the last night that, you know, you seem to, today, you seem to be, ah, quite different. I mean you seem so, ah, up, and so much with it. Last night you seemed kind of down. Did you talk to someone last night? But the fact is that when he came home and he seemed to have been feeling, ah, you know, pretty good, but there were times in the discussion that, you know, I could tell that he was, the thing was on his mind and he seemed, ah, you know, worried.
Ah, That evening we went to the Abernathy's for dinner and, we spent the evening at their home. And, Martin, of course, ah, liked to eat and Mrs. Abernathy had some of his favorite food and even homemade ice-cream Eyes on the Prize II: And so, we, ah, we had, you know, a warm fellowship, ah, after we ate, of course.
You know, he fell off to sleep for a while. But, then Bernard Lee started talking about, ah, that experience the night before and the day, that morning. Abernathy said, "I've never seen Martin like that. And I think, for them, that was, ah, that meant, you know, sort of like an omen of some kind, that, ah, you know, again, they were in awe as to how he could get that strength, ah, when he obviously could be very low and very much like any other human being and then he could transcend and, ah, some how be able to be above it.
But, the fact is that that was a very difficult weekend for him. He called in the staff from across the country and from Memphis and they had a meeting in Atlanta and they made plans to go back to Memphis, ah, to regroup and to organize for another march. And, I think the march was going to be held, ah, ah, it was going to be held, would have been held the following Monday after his assassination. From the first, I had been determined to get ahead, not just for myself, but to do something for my people and for all people.
I took to my heart the words of Horace Mann [—], 'Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity. Her time there renewed and strengthened the values of giving and sharing that she had learned at home and at Lincoln High School.
She learned to work toward excellence, crediting the school with helping lead her to believe "that individuals as well as society could move toward the democratic ideal of brotherhood. She claimed that "the total experience of Antioch" was an important element in preparing her for the role as wife of Martin Luther King Jr.
Marriage to Martin Luther King Jr. While Coretta Scott was at Antioch she realized that she wanted to continue in music and to develop her voice to its fullest potential. She enrolled in the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts, graduating in with a bachelor's degree in music.
They were married on June 18, Her decision to marry the young minister meant giving up her career as a performing concert musician. It was in Montgomery that they were pushed into the leadership of the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr. She was actively involved in organizing and participating in the marches and boycotts a form of protest in which organizers refuse to have dealings with a person, a store, or an organization until policies or positions are changed.
She also gave "freedom concerts," in which she sang, read poetry, and gave lectures on the history of civil rights, to raise funds for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference SCLC; an organization that was founded by Martin Luther King Jr. She also gave speeches all over the country, often standing in for her husband.
Four days after the violent murder of her husband, the grieving widow and three of her four children returned to Memphis to lead the march Martin had organized.
Then, in May she led a demonstration of striking hospital workers in Charleston, South Carolina.