WHEN MARTIN MET CORETTA - The Boston Globe
From Studying At BU To Meeting Coretta Scott: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Pennsylvania, does two years there, and then he comes to Boston. JANUARY Coretta and Martin meet in Boston the attractive singer Coretta Scott, whose gentle manner and air of repose did not disguise her lively spirit. Coretta Scott King was one of the most influential women leaders in our world. While in Boston she met Martin Luther King, Jr. who was then studying for his She was the first woman to deliver the class day address at Harvard, and the first .
Coretta Scott King knew she would have to carry on her husband's work. She worked to establish the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. The center opened in Inshe formed the Full Employment Action Council, a broad coalition of more than religious, labor, business, civil and women's rights organizations.
She served as a council co-chair. Inshe marked the 20th Anniversary of the historic March on Washington, D. She also led a successful campaign to establish a national holiday honoring her husband. By an Act of Congress, the first observance of the holiday was recognized in It also is recognized as an annual holiday in more than countries.
King and three of her children were arrested at the South African embassy in Washington, D. In a turn of events 10 years later, she stood with Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg when he was sworn in as President of South Africa.
King remained active in racial and economic justice, and in her remaining years devoted much energy to AIDS education and curbing gun violence. A peaceful end Coretta Scott King died in her sleep on January 31,at a rehabilitation center in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, where she was being treated for ovarian cancer and the stroke she suffered in Coretta Scott King will always be an inspirational figure to men and women around the world.
Off-site search results for "Coretta Scott King" Schraff, Anne, Coretta Scott King: You've got a good mind also. You have everything I ever wanted in a woman. We ought to get married someday. I had to have a wife who would be as dedicated as I was. I wish I could say that I led her down this path, but I must say we went down it together because she was as actively involved and concerned when we met as she is now.
I told my mother, "Coretta is going to be my wife. Although we had returned to Marion to be married by my father on the Scotts' spacious lawn, it was in Boston that we began our married life together. Having inherited a talent for music from her mother, Bernice Scott, as well as the strength of quiet determination, she had then gone on with the aid of a scholarship to work her way through the New England Conservatory in Boston.
She wanted to be a concert singer. She was a mezzo-soprano and I'm sure she would have gone on into this area if a Baptist preacher hadn't interrupted her life.
Coretta's father, Obie Scott, a short, stocky man of dark complexion, is a strong and courageous man. People are strongly attracted to him because of his warm personality. He loves people and is always ready to help someone in need. Although reared on a farm, Obie Scott was always concerned about going into business for himself. He finally succeeded and operated a trucking business, a combination filling station and grocery store, and a chicken farm.
Despite the reprisals and physical threats of his white competitors, he attempted to get ahead in these various businesses and dared to make a decent living for his family. He has never been an Uncle Tom, but he had to suffer certain insults and even humiliation in order to survive in his community. The amazing thing is that he came through all of this with his courage undaunted, without becoming bitter.
Coretta often made comparison between me and her father.
Even in the early days of our courtship, she used to say, "You remind me so much of my father. In fact, much too much for my own good. I never realized that you were such an intimate part of my life. My life without you is like a year without a spring time which comes to give illumination and heat to the atmosphere saturated by the dark cold breeze of winter. O excuse me, my darling. I didn't mean to go off on such a poetical and romantic flight. But how else can we express the deep emotions of life other than in poetry?
Isn't love too ineffable to be grasped by the cold calculating hands of intellect? By the way to turn to something more intellectual I have just completed Bellamy's Looking Backward.
There can be no doubt about it. Bellamy had the insight of a social prophet as well as the fact finding mind of the social scientist. I welcomed the book because much of its content is in line with my basic ideas. I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic. And yet I am not so opposed to capitalism that I have failed to see its relative merits. So I did attend this meeting. And, you know, it was so exciting to see, ah, Native Americans, ah, Hispanics, and, ah, ah, White leaders from Appalachia and of course Blacks, sitting down and talking about, ah, what they had in common.
And Martin invited them to join the Poor People's Campaign.
About Mrs. King | The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change
Because by that time they had developed a concept to the point where, you know, they were ready to invite people in. And I said to him, "Like most great events in history, that are historic in nature, the press will miss this one too.
But I want to be there. Ah, the fact is that, ah, he worked, after he got the idea of what could, what could happen to arouse the conscience of the nation around this issue and just legislatively lobbying, going to Washington with the poor people, and he said, "We would stay there and we would camp out and we would continue to, to, ah, to lobby the congress and the various departments until something was done because, you know, America can address this problem.
And the press asked him, "Dr. King, ah, what if, ah, if you fail? It will be America that fails. And that the nation would respond. He said, "And we're going for broke. And we'll go there and we will stay. And I think that, that in that process somehow, ah, you know, along the way he was detoured and of course he never was able to lead that campaign.
So, begin again with you're talking about your husband's searching for an answer to these problems. Martin had, ah, had been, ah, searching for a, a creative solution to, ah, the problems that existed during the summer of Ah, you know, the, the poverty that was, ah, growing, ah, the number of poor people in, in this country, ah, of, all races.
He, ah, he had not been able to find that, that, that creative solution that he was looking for until he, ah, had a conversation with Marian Wright, and she had been, ah, in Mississippi, ah, and started talking to him about some of the things that she had experienced there.
About Mrs. King
And, ah, this, this whole, ah, the whole question of how do you dramatize the plight of poor people in the country, poverty at its worst, and he felt that somehow if he didn't come up with a, with a dramatic way of doing that the nation would perhaps respond. And also at the same time you'd get other people involved. Ah, so the, the, ah, the thing, the thing that happened was, When he came home, of course, he was excited, really excited. I mean he left home, you know, kind of down. He had been going through sort of a depression, you know.
Ah, he had been depressed because there was so much violence. And he knew that the nation couldn't survive this way. Something had to give. Ah, and, and the more violence there was, the more, ah, some people would blame Martin Luther King for the violence. And, ah, so when he came home that evening, he was real excited, you know, about this idea of a Poor People's Campaign starting in Marks, Mississippi with a mule train and going all the way to Washington, D. America at the Racial Crossroads - ; Episode And, ah, he talked about it and during the fall period he worked very hard and all into the early part of the year.
And in the spring he went all over this country talking about it and promoting the idea and most people who knew him felt that he was working as if this was going to be his last job. I mean he really was, we were very concerned about him, ah, but the fact is that, you know, he could see, I think, a way that this could all come together and he felt very confident that this could be a real test of how non violence can, can work, ah, to change the lives of people economically.
When the press asked him, "Dr. King, what if you fail? It will be that America failed. And he said, "If I be the sole person on earth who clings to the belief and practice of non-violence, I will be that person. King, I'd like to get a sense of the pace of your husband's meeting with the people who are organizing in February and March and let's focus on March 23rd when he took Marty and Dexter with him to rural Georgia. Martin was away so much of the time that, ah, he looked forward to occasions when he could take the children with him, and Marty and Dexter were able to go with him to Georgia, rural Georgia.
And, ah, they were, ah, so excited it meant that they could spend, you know, a whole day, whatever time it was with their father, and, ah, ah, now, they, they were just genuinely excited and, ah, Martin, too was excited because, you know, he was very concerned about his father role and, ah, spending time with the children.
And he saw this as a time he could spend with his sons. And he knew how much it meant to them, but he also it meant, it also meant a great deal to him. And, Dexter of course, being younger, I'm sure, he, he got tired quicker than Marty. So he was, ah, talking about how, you know, how, how daddy, ah, worked so hard and how he, you know, went so long and how he seemed never to get tired and that was the way it was. It seemed that he, ah, of course he got tired.
But I think he was inspired with the whole idea but it was hard work to do what he did. I mean it is very tiring, you know, to travel and, you know, it was like a, almost like a political campaign days of the year.
I would say to, to Martin, you know, "The movement is like a political campaign, but you never take a break, it never ends, it's continuous, ah, year-after-year. But, ah, I think one of the wonderful moments in the family, was when the children could be with him for that length of time. So, can you tell us how your husband felt when the march in Memphis on March 28 ended in violence. He was very depressed over the whole situation, and the fact that the march had been aborted.
I think at first he did not really know what caused it. Ah, he said that he had arrived in Memphis and got off the plane and went directly to the head of the line. Normally, ah, the staff of SCLC was involved in the organizing process. Ah, that is getting ready for the march, and usually if there are any problems and conflicts within the community, they would know about it. There were no SCLC staff people present in Memphis; it was just the local people, the sanitation workers and the local committee.
However, there were some SCLC board people who lived there, and, ah, so he was not apprised of the fact that there was a conflict within the community. There were some youngsters who were, who had some problems with the way things were being done, and I guess they, had this assumption was that, ah, that had been smoothed over, ah, but Martin was not aware of this.
That is by the leaders had assumed that it had been smoothed over. So, as the march--when the march began--when the rock throwing started, ah, Martin was very nervous because he knew that if violence be started, if it broke out it could lead in any direction, and, ah, ah, he also felt that he would be held accountable and responsible, although he, you know, he, he really didn't know anything about the background of it at all.
Ah, so when he called he was, he was very distressed, but he was also, ah, I would say depressed. But, the fact is that, you know, he got blamed.
Ah, I did everything I could to try to encourage him and, ah, all, but he was obviously very much depressed and down in spirits. Ah, I understand that he had a press conference that night and, ah, the press, of course sensed that he was, you know, he was, he was very much depressed, but the next morning, ah, when he had a press conference again, I understand that, you know, he was almost like a new person.Martin Luther King's son Dexter meets James Earl Ray, Patsy-Assassin of his father
Ah, he, he, he, ah, seemed to be, ah, ah, you know really inspired. He spoke with a lot of energy in his voice. So what did Dr. King tell you about the press conference the next morning? Ah, Martin said the next morning, when he took--conducted the press conference he, ah, sort of had that take-charge attitude, and, normally, you know, he would let someone else, ah, give an introduction and he would then come on.
Coretta Scott King
But, he started himself, and, ah, and he was telling them, you know, what he planned to do. And, I think the idea was to, to, ah, you know, go on and have another march and so on.
The press after the conference, asked him, "Dr. King," ah, I mean during the conference they asked him, "What happened since, ah, in the last night that, you know, you seem to, today, you seem to be, ah, quite different.
I mean you seem so, ah, up, and so much with it. Last night you seemed kind of down. Did you talk to someone last night? But the fact is that when he came home and he seemed to have been feeling, ah, you know, pretty good, but there were times in the discussion that, you know, I could tell that he was, the thing was on his mind and he seemed, ah, you know, worried.
Ah, That evening we went to the Abernathy's for dinner and, we spent the evening at their home. And, Martin, of course, ah, liked to eat and Mrs. Abernathy had some of his favorite food and even homemade ice-cream Eyes on the Prize II: And so, we, ah, we had, you know, a warm fellowship, ah, after we ate, of course. You know, he fell off to sleep for a while. But, then Bernard Lee started talking about, ah, that experience the night before and the day, that morning.
Abernathy said, "I've never seen Martin like that. And I think, for them, that was, ah, that meant, you know, sort of like an omen of some kind, that, ah, you know, again, they were in awe as to how he could get that strength, ah, when he obviously could be very low and very much like any other human being and then he could transcend and, ah, some how be able to be above it.
But, the fact is that that was a very difficult weekend for him. He called in the staff from across the country and from Memphis and they had a meeting in Atlanta and they made plans to go back to Memphis, ah, to regroup and to organize for another march. And, I think the march was going to be held, ah, ah, it was going to be held, would have been held the following Monday after his assassination.
Now, this was the twenty-eighth when the march was aborted and the twenty-ninth was the meeting in Atlanta. But, in the process of that meeting Martin, ah, talked to each one of his staff persons, ah, you know, like, individually, but within the group, and he told them the things that they each had to do.
And many of them said it reminded them of the last supper. Ah, when Christ talked to his disciples. Ah, then, you know, they came together, because they were not together. Some of them wanted to leave Memphis, some of them didn't want to go. Most of them really didn't want to go to Memphis. They were just going because Dr. King said, "We really needed to go by way of Memphis. So I think he felt much better after that, ah, you know, that experience.
And, ah, by the time he went back to Memphis on Tuesday, I think it was Tuesday, ah, like I said, this was Saturday, Tuesday of the next week, ah, you know, I think he was prepared and feeling good. The last time I talked to him was, ah, was on a, ah, I guess it was Thursday night. It was Wednesday night just after he had spoken at the Mason Temple. Ah, as a matter of fact, they had been meeting all day And he didn't want to go to that meeting that night.
Ah, he said he had sent Rev. Abernathy over and he said, "Because I just didn't feel like going, but it's thundering and lightening here, we have a thunderstorm taking place," he said, "But, you know Ralph has just called and said that I needed to come over and said the people were waiting for me and they really didn't want anybody else to speak but me," so he said, "I guess I'll go on over there. I'll call you later. America at the Racial Crossroads - ; Episode Well, of course, this was April 3 and I didn't get that call, naturally, because he was assassinated.
But, I'm told, ah, by Rev. Abernathy and others, who were there, Rev. Abernathy said that Martin spoke that night, you know, again, as if it was kind of a what you call a Swan Song, ah, and he talked about, ah, the fact that if he had had a choice of which period in history that he wanted to live in that he would want to live, you know, in that period at that particular moment. And he went on to give all the reasons why as he went through history and he talked about the great moments of history and as great as they were, ah, and he would name them individually, you know, the Greek period and on and on, certain experiences in United States, but this is the greatest moment in the history of our country that, you know, that I'd like to live in, because, then he talked about all the things that had happened in the Civil Rights Movement that, ah, and the progress that had been made, that made him feel that this was the most important time in history.
And then finally he came around to telling about the threats and his final statement, which I think everybody knows now as history. Ah, and, ah, but, that, ah, well, what else can you say? Ah, I think it was a very significant gathering in that, ah, it was, I guess, the first time, in recent history that, ah, we'd had people from so many persuasions coming together who were Black, who had a lot in common, and yet, had, ah, were very different in many ways in terms of their political, ah, their, ah, I would say their ideologies.
And, ah, I think it was a tremendous effort and ah, we, ah, I think we sent a message to the nation, I think. Particularly to the, ah, political parties, ah, that, ah, you know, we were not going to be taken for granted. Ah, and that we were organizing and I think that was important.
Ah, was an important year. Many people forget that Shirley Chisholm ran a gallant race as the first Black woman to run, Black, to run for president, and a Black woman. And, you know, I think Shirley was a real pioneer and, ah, it was at that race, that convention that galvanized a lot of Black America behind Shirley, ah, and each time that, ah, you know, that happens it's a learning experience, I think, ah, and it learned White people learn about Black people and learn to, ah, respect certain, that Black people, the fact that Black people are, can achieve, that they are intelligent and, ah, they can, ah, lead.
Shirley did at that time. And I think we need to remember that, that she made a tremendous contribution, ah, as the, ah, first Black. And, then of course, most people who are younger remember only Jesse Jackson's race. Ah, which is very important and very significant. But, I just like to look at that whole span of history.
So, do you remember any feelings you had as you stood there up on the stage next to Mrs. And I'm wondering if you also wonder--think that it was any coincidence that this gathering happened in the last year of Nixon's first term in office. I think I may have met Betty Shabazz at another time, but, ah, the fact was that we were there together and I certainly had not really had that much contact with her.
- Coretta Scott King
- Coretta Scott King (1927-2006)
Ah, I think the fact that we were there together, ah, at least, presented a, ah, some semblance of, of unity. Ah, unity that doesn't mean uniformity, ah, and, I think that sent a message to, you know, to the American people--ah, Black people and White people alike. Ah, I think that, ah, the overall, ah, significance of, of, of that coming together, ah, said to, ah, us that, you know, we can, together, do a lot more than we can being separated and divided.
Not that there was not some, ah, divisions within the group at that particular time. But, I think it was a very forward step on working on bringing the Black community and the Black leadership together in a kind of a family, leadership family relationship.
When Martin met Coretta
Not that we have fully achieved that. But, I don't think we've attempted anything since then, like that of that magnitude.
Bishop Tutu had been the, ah, spokesperson in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, who had, I think, ah, more than anyone else symbolizes, symbolized, the spirit of non-violence.
He had received the, ah, Nobel Peace Prize, ah, and, ah, it was important that, as we celebrate Martin's birthday, for the first time nationally, that there be an international representative who had championed a cause, it seemed, similar to what Martin was involved in. And I think that Bishop Tutu was a good representative of that.
Ah, to make that connection with South Africa was very, I think, important, ah, in the work of the King Center, the continuation of Dr.