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Coretta Scott King
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Coretta Scott King
C oretta Scott King, who died on January 30, 2006 at the age of 78, was a committed activist and a courageous and visionary person.
Coretta Scott was born in Heiberger, Alabama. She was exposed at an early age to the injustices of life in a segregated society. She walked five miles a day to attend the one-room Crossroad School in Marion, Alabama while white students rode buses to an all-white school closer by. Coretta excelled at her studies, particularly music, and was valedictorian of her graduating class at Lincoln High School.
She graduated in 1945 and received a scholarship to Antioch College. As an undergraduate, she joined the Antioch chapter of the NAACP and the college’s Race Relations and Civil Liberties committees. She graduated from Antioch with a BA in music and education and won a scholarship to study concert singing at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts where she met a theology student, Martin Luther King, Jr. They were married on June 18, 1953. Coretta Scott King completed her degree in voice and violin at the New England Conservatory and the couple moved to Montgomery, Alabama where Martin Luther King, Jr. had accepted an appointment as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.
They were soon caught up in the dramatic events that triggered the modern civil rights movement. The Montgomery bus boycott drew the attention of the world to the continued injustice of segregation in the United States and led to court decisions striking down all local ordinances separating the races in public transit.
A lthough the demands of raising a family had caused Coretta to retire from singing, she conceived and performed a series of critically acclaimed Freedom Concerts, combining poetry, narration, and music to tell the story of the civil rights movement. Over the next few years, Coretta Scott King staged Freedom Concerts in many concert venues, as fundraisers for the organization her husband had founded, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
In 1957 the Kings journeyed to Africa to celebrate the independence of Ghana. In 1959, they made a pilgrimage to India to honor the memory of Mahatma Gandhi whose philosophy of nonviolence had inspired them.
In the 1960s Coretta King was in increasing demand as a public speaker. She became the first woman to deliver the Class Day address at Harvard and the first woman to preach at a statutory service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. She served as a Women’s Strike for Peace delegate to the 17-nation Disarmament Conference in Geneva, Switzerland in 1962 and became a liaison to international peace and justice organizations.
Following the assassination of Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968, Coretta King concentrated on building the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. In 1969 she published the first volume of her autobiography, My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr . In 1974 she formed the Full Employment Action Council, 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.
In 1981 the King Center, the first institution built in memory of an African American leader, opened to the public. The Center houses the largest collection of documents from the civil rights era and has trained tens of thousands of students, teachers, community leaders, and administrators in the philosophy and strategy of nonviolence.
C oretta King continued to serve the cause of justice and human rights. In 1983 she marked the 20th anniversary of the historic March on Washington by leading a gathering of more than 800 human rights organizations, the Coalition of Conscience, in the largest demonstration the capital city had seen up to that time.
Coretta led the successful campaign to establish Dr. King’s birthday as a national holiday in the United States. In 1985 Coretta King and three of her children were arrested at the South African embassy in Washington, DC for protesting against that country’s apartheid system of racial segregation and disenfranchisement. Ten years later, she stood with Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg when he was sworn in as president of South Africa.
After 27 years at the helm of the King Center, she turned over leadership of the Center to her son, Dexter Scott King, in 1995. She remained active in the causes of racial and economic justice and in her remaining years devoted much of her energy to AIDS education and curbing gun violence. She remains an inspirational figure to men and women around the world.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.