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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
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; firstname.lastname@example.org; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; email@example.com; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.