Please join us for the book launch on Friday, April 27, 2012, at 5:30 p.m. in the Freedom Hall Complex of The King Center in Atlanta, GA, in honor of what would have been Mrs. King’s 85th birthday
Proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Coretta Scott King Foundation to help prepare the next generation of Legacy Leaders through educational, health & wellness, and cultural awareness initiatives.
(for those unable to attend, watch the event streamed live here)
*order in the month of May and received a copy signed by Bernice A. King.
About the Book
Desert Rose details Coretta Scott King's upbringing in a family of proud, land-owning African Americans with a profound devotion to the ideals of social equality and the values of education, as well as her later role as her husband's most trusted confidant and advisor.
Coretta Scott King—noted author, human rights activist, and wife and partner of famed Civil Rights Movement leader Martin Luther King Jr.—grew up in the rural Alabama Black Belt with her older sister, Edythe Scott Bagley. Bagley chronicles the sisters’ early education together at the Crossroads School and later at the progressive Lincoln School in Marion. She describes Coretta’s burgeoning talent for singing and her devotion to musical studies, and the sisters’ experiences matriculating at Antioch College, an all-white college far from the rural South. Bagley provides vivid insights into Coretta’s early passion for racial and economic justice, which lead to her involvement in the Peace Movement and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
As Coretta’s older sister, Edythe shared in almost all of Coretta’s many trials and tribulations. Desert Rose charts Coretta’s hesitance about her romance with Martin Luther King and the prospect of having to sacrifice her dream of a career in music to become a minister’s wife. Ultimately, Coretta chose to utilize her artistic gifts and singing voice for the Movement through the development and performance of Freedom Concerts. This book also charts Coretta’s own commitment and dedication, in the years that followed King’s death, to the causes of international civil rights, the antiapartheid movement, and the establishment of the King Center in Atlanta and the national King Holiday. Coretta’s devotion to activism, motherhood, and the movement led by her husband, and her courageous assumption of the legacy left in the wake of King’s untimely assassination, are wonderfully detailed in this intimate biography.
About the Author
Edythe Scott Bagley, education pioneer, activist, and sister of Coretta Scott King, was born and raised just north of Marion, Alabama. She enrolled at Antioch College in 1943, becoming the first African American student. Bagley earned a master’s degree in English from Columbia University and an MFA in theatre arts from Boston University. She taught at Albany State College in Georgia and Norfolk State University in Virginia, and in 1971 joined the faculty of Cheyney State College, where she was the leading force behind establishing the theatre and arts major.
Edythe served as an active member of the board of directors for the Atlanta-based King Center from its founding in 1968. She also represented her sister as a speaker and made radio and television appearances on behalf of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. Bagley passed away in June of 2011.
“Desert Rose is a must-read for anyone interested in learning about the first family of the Civil Rights Movement. This book offers an insightful look at the life of Coretta Scott King, and by default the life of Dr. King, from a unique and rare perspective. It provides an excellent ground-level view of African American life in Perry County and in Alabama’s Black Belt.” —Hasan Kwame Jeffries, author of Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama’s Black Belt
“Coretta Scott King, like so many women during the Civil Rights Movement, has never gotten her just due other than being Mrs. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But her work and leadership was just as instrumental in advancing the cause of Black folk. Desert Rose puts the light on Coretta and her family, and allows us to revel in the courageous work of a remarkable family, and definitely a strong and fearless woman like Coretta Scott King.”
--Roland S. Martin, nationally syndicated columnist and author of Speak, Brother! A Black Man's View of America
“It is difficult to think of a person more qualified to write a biography of Coretta Scott King than her older sister, Edythe S. Bagley. An accomplished scholar and writer, Bagley creates in Desert Rose: The Life and Legacy of Coretta Scott King, a portrait not just of her younger sister who grew up to play a large role in the nation’s history, but of the family that produced and nurtured Coretta and sent her proudly out into the world to assume her rightful place. As scholars and historians begin to do the necessary work on the life of Mrs. King and her unique individual contributions to progressive movements in this country--both before and after the death of her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.--they will find in Desert Rose a loving portrait, filled with anecdotes, family stories, historical footnotes, and memories only a sister could provide. For those who want a closer look at an extraordinary woman, Desert Rose: The Life and Legacy of Coretta Scott King will provide that intimate glance with great affection, deep understanding, and amazing grace.”
--- Pearl Cleage, author of Till You Hear From Me and playwrite for A Song for Coretta
“Desert Rose provides a useful window into the lives of Edythe Scott Bagley and her sister, Coretta Scott King. Illuminating African American middle-class life in Black Belt Alabama at the turn of twentieth century, the author takes us behind the scenes where readers can see the toll civil rights activism took on the King family, both immediate and extended.”
--Andrew Manis, author of A Fire You Can’t Put Out: The Civil Rights Life of Birmingham’s Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth