Married To The Movement: Coretta Scott King

On this day there will be thousands of breakfasts, prayer circles and radio broadcasts about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He is probably the world’s most known Civil Rights Activist and his message of equality and non-violence continues to be a symbol for many movements and activists around the world.

One of my personal interests is always the “man behind the man” or in this case the woman behind the man. Coretta Scott King endured death threats and her home was bombed. Yet, she was often seen beside her husband as they walked millions of miles in honor of black manhood and womanhood. Coretta Scott King allowed her husband to be married to the movement as she understood that his life & his purpose on earth was for much bigger than their family or her personal needs/desires and he lost his life because of his/their unwavering commitment to their mission.

Dr. King & Coretta Scott King committed their marriage and their life to the fight for justice and today, I want to honor her.

– Coretta Scott King was born on April 27, 1927 in Marion, Alabama.
– She learned to play the trumpet and piano and she also sang as a soloist at Lincoln High School.
– She then went to Antioch College in Ohio and majored in music and education. She had a taste of segregation when she was not allowed to student teach in the local school system because of her race.

– She then decided to pursue a professional music career and was accepted by the New England Conservatory in Boston. She met King, who was also a student in Boston in 1952. The two married in 1953 and after she graduated they moved to Montgomery, Alabama where King started his work as a minister.
– After her husband was assassinated, four days later she lead a march of 50,000 people through the streets of Memphis and even served as a substitute for her husband later that year for the Poor People’s Campaign.
– She honored her husband by founding the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta and served as the Center’s President and CEO until 1995 when she turned over leadership to their son Dexter.


– In 1980 – a 23 acre site was designated for use by the King Center, and a museum was built on the site.
– She was behind the 15 year fight to have her husband’s birthday become a National Holiday which was signed into law by President Reagan in 1983. King is the ONLY non-white person to have a national holiday and the only individuals who have been honored in that manner are former Presidents.
– She wrote a memoir in 1969 called My Life With Martin Luther King.

She suffered a heart attack and stroke in 2005 and died on January 30, 2006.

One of my dreams is to write a book about the women of the Civil Rights/Black Power Movement. I decided the book would be entitled Married to the Movement. I want to focus on the wives and the girlfriends of Civil Rights Leaders/Activists (Coretta Scott King, Betty Shabazz & others) and what they endured/experienced behind the scenes.

2 thoughts on “Married To The Movement: Coretta Scott King

  1. Thanks again Mrs. Donnie Smith for a wonderful Post. I didn’t know about many of the facts you highlighted concerning Mrs.King who was truly a Queen in her own right. Its crazy how nowadays many people think there’s strength & self empowerment in the “I ain’t taking no crap I’ll leave him/her!” attitude. I think what your post shows is that the real power of a companion is their willingness to accept a great love and Godly mission despite the human flaws of their other half.
    Had Coretta abandoned Martin not only would it have destroyed him but it would’ve crippled the Civil rights movement. So for her to see past his failings and hold him up in his time of despair is an ode to her spectacular nature. You are that for me Donnie, you’ve saved my life and the life of my children. You looked beyond what I do for a living and my artist depression at times to encourage me and help me be the Man I want to be. I love you as tenderly as a precious cub and will protect you with the ferocity of a LION. You are my Queen and always will be Mrs. Smith. Thank You for being extraordinary!

    1. My dear King, this post made me cry! You are certainly my soul mate and I am so thankful that God brought us together. You have protected me and loved me in ways that I didn’t knew were possible. You are my best friend, my lover and my cheerleader. Thank you for being so supportive and for bringing out the best in me. I’m yours forever baby!

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