Today is Coretta Scott King’s birthday.If you recognize the name it is most likely you recognize her as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s wife. But she was so much more.
Raised in Alabama King experienced discriminationn at a young age. Despite this King was valedictorian of her class, received a B.A. in music and education and continued her education by studying concert singing at a school in Boston.
During this impressively busy time King became involved in the Civil Rights Movement, leading her to join an NAACP chapter and a group at her school, Race Relations and Civil Liberties Committees.
It was during her time in Boston that she met Martin Luther King, Jr. From this point on Coretta was involved in the civil rights movement until the day she passed in 2006.
Coretta traveled the world, “speaking out on behalf of racial and economic justice, women’s and children’s rights, gay and lesbian dignity, religious freedom, the needs of the poor and homeless, full-employment, health care, educational opportunities, nuclear disarmament and environmental justice”.
After her husband’s death, Coretta continued to fight and promote equity through the creation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. She led the successful campaign to have a day recognizing her husband’s birthday as a national holiday.
Here a few quotes from King that show how intelligent Coretta was,
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 personhood
Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul
I’m fulfilled in what I do. I never thought that a lot of money or fine clothes – the finer things of life – would make you happy. My concept of happiness is to be fulfilled in a spiritual sense
Coretta understood the importance of coalitions. She advocated for interracial coalitions in order to move towards equality, forming a “broad coalition of over 100 religious, labor, business, civil and women’s rights organizations dedicated to a national policy of full employment and equal economic opportunity”.
A longtime advocate of peace, our current society can still learn from Coretta. In her words:
Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated
Happy Birthday Coretta.