Coretta Scott King: How she helped keep Martin Luther King's dream alive

1/13/2012

By Kunbi Tinuoye

(THE GRIO) They say behind every great man stands a great woman. Coretta Scott King, civil rights activist and widow of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was no exception

In partnership with her husband throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Mrs. King played an important role in the civil rights movement. In 1955 she took part in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and most prominently, perhaps, she worked hard to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

"I am convinced that if I had not had a wife with the fortitude, strength and calmness of Coretta, I could not have stood up amid the ordeals and tensions surrounding the Montgomery movement," Dr. King said of his wife.

Contrary to over-simplistic accounts of the late Mrs. King as simply Dr. King's widow, she was a formidable political activist in her own right, who played a major role in the civil rights struggle.

"She was very much an activist even before she met Dr. King and even attended the Progressive Party convention in 1948," says Steve Klein, communications director at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta.

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