7 things that you may not know about Coretta Scott King (1927-2003)

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1)Coretta Scott King was born on the 27th of April 1927 in Perry County, Alabama. Her parents, Obadiah and Bernice Scott, were farmers who owned land in the county since the American Civil War.

 2)At the age of 10, she had to drop out of school to help pick cotton just so her family would have enough money to put food on the table. Despite these challenges, she would still wind up graduating from Lincoln Normal School in 1945 and earn a scholarship to study music in Boston.

3)She participated in “freedom concerts,” which consisted of poetry recitation, singing, and lectures demonstrating the history of the civil rights movement. The proceeds from the concerts were donated to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

4)On January 30th, 1956 the King family home was bombed when a brick was thrown onto the porch. Coretta and her daughter, Yolanda, were unharmed and when Coretta’s father insisted she leave Montgomery and go back to Atlanta. She refused.

5)When her husband was assassinated, Mrs. King was given thousands of letters and telegrams offering her sympathy and support. One message, however, held much more importance than any other for her. It came from the mother of Lee Harvey Oswald.

6) She kept her husband’s legacy alive through her own activism. After her husband’s death, King founded the artin Luther King Jr Center for nonviolent social change  in Atlanta, Georgia, and served as its president for more than a decade. Coretta worked for years to make her husband’s birthday, January 15th into a holiday. It wasn’t until 1986 that she succeeded in making Martin Luther King Jr. Day a federal holiday, though it always occurs on the 3rd Monday of January.

7)She was against apartheid. She was part of several protests against apartheid in South Africa, and lobbied for the release of Nelson Mandela. She traveled several times to the country to meet with anti-apartheid activists and to support black South Africans affected by state-sanctioned oppression.

 

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