Coretta Scott King in college.
“If a man had nothing that was worth dying for, then he was not fit to live.”
~ Coretta Scott King
There are some women that just make a lasting impression. It doesn’t matter when you meet them or for how long, once you do, you’re just impressed. I’m sitting at my computer researching an article I’m writing about the early years of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King’s relationship and something strange happened. I realized that I was falling in love with Coretta Scott King, Dr. King has been gone for a while and so has she but I almost felt as though I was doing something wrong.
I just couldn’t help it though, the more I read about her, the more I became fascinated by not just her strength after he was assassinated but with the woman she was before she became his wife. I could go into full writer mode and break it down but we live in a 15 minutes of less society so I’ll make it simple.
I’ll tell you all why she may be my favorite woman of all time!
One- When she was ten she picked cotton with her siblings so that her family could have extra money. Her father was the first black man in their town to own his own pickup truck and he built a lumber mill. When he refused to sell it they white men in the town burned it down. She knew struggle, sacrifice and hard work from an early age.
Two- Her sister was the first African American girl to go to an all white college. She took it one step further and tried to be the first woman to become a teacher in that district but they wouldn’t let her. So she left and took a scholarship at a college in Boston. She was willing to fight but knew that some battles just couldn’t be won.
Three- She’s a sorority girl. A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha to be exact. Who doesn’t love a sorority girl?
Four- She gave up her singing career to be the wife of a Baptist Preacher in Alabama. She wasn’t singing in lounges and clubs she was a degreed, talented opera singer. For her love and being with a man that could make a difference mattered more than her career.
Five- She’s gorgeous and all we have is black and white pictures. Could you imagine what she would look like in color and if she had Instagram filters? Beautiful, brave, hard working, smart and can sing? She’d be huge!
Six- The first time she met Dr. King’s father he told her that he didn’t think a singing career was cool for a minister’s wife. She told him, “Who told you I was taking your son seriously?” She then told Martin that she couldn’t talk to a man that couldn’t stand up to his father. She also asked that the word “obey” be removed from her vows. This was in the 1950’s where women rarely spoke up like that. That’s confidence and heart.
Seven- After his death she hesitated in taking a leadership role in the Civil Rights Movement but eventually she did and she kept his legacy and the legacy they created together going.
Eight- She was cool with JFK, everyone wants to be cool with JFK.
Nine- MLK Day, the King Center in Atlanta, all of these are monuments to her husband that she built. She was the one that pushed through legislation to get her husband a Holiday because of all he’d done. She was the one that fought Boston University to get his papers even though she lost.
Ten- She never remarried after Dr. King, never dated or gave her time to any other men. For as long as she lived she kept her vows even though he was gone. That’s loyalty, that’s incredibly cool.