Coretta Scott King
Coretta Scott King (née Scott; April 27, 1927 – January 30, 2006) was an American author, activist, civil rights leader, and the wife of Martin Luther King Jr. An active advocate for African-American equality, she was a leader for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. King was also a singer who often incorporated music into her civil rights work. King met her husband while attending graduate school in Boston. They both became increasingly active in the American Civil Rights Movement.
King played a prominent role in the years after her husband’s assassination in 1968 when she took on the leadership of the struggle for racial equality herself and became active in the Women’s Movement. King founded the King Center and sought to make his birthday a national holiday. She finally succeeded when Ronald Reagan signed legislation which established Martin Luther King Jr. Day on November 2, 1983. She later broadened her scope to include both advocacy for LGBT rights and opposition to apartheid. King became friends with many politicians before and after Martin Luther King’s death, including John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Robert F. Kennedy. Her telephone conversation with John F. Kennedy during the 1960 presidential election has been credited by historians for mobilizing African-American voters.In August 2005, King suffered a stroke which paralyzed her right side and left her unable to speak; five months later she died of respiratory failure due to complications from ovarian cancer. Her funeral was attended by some 10,000 people, including four of five living US presidents. She was temporarily buried on the grounds of the King Center until being interred next to her husband. She was inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame and was the first African American to lie in the Georgia State Capitol. King has been referred to as “First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement”.