Wednesday, February 01, 2006
In Pursuit Of The Dream
Coretta Scott King
1927 - 2006
She grew up in rural Alabama, the daughter of one of very few local black businessmen. During that time, she often witnessed the festering hatefulness that bigotry and oppression can generally leave in its wake. However, years later, the experience molded her into a supportive lieutenant to a young, idealistic preacher named Martin Luther King Jr., during the most tumultuous days of the American civil rights movement. She married him in 1953.
After his assassination on April 4, 1968, keeping her focus on life instead of mourning his death, she immediately took to the streets for the Poor People's March in Memphis. While continuing to keep his dream alive, she also raised four children as a single mom, and worked to keep the ideology of equality for all people at the forefront of the nation's agenda. She goaded and pulled for more than a decade to have her husband's birthday observed as a national holiday, then watched with pride in 1983 as President Ronald Reagan signed the bill into law. The first federal holiday was celebrated in 1986.
She then went on to became a symbol, in her own right, of Dr. Martin Luther King's struggle for peace and brotherhood, presiding with a quiet, steady, stoic presence over countless seminars and conferences on global issues such as the Women's Movement, Aids Research, Children's Rights, and the list goes on and on.
And although we now mourn the passing of yet another great "people's" champion, we can also take comfort in knowing that hers, like her husband before her, was a life well worth celebrating.