“Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that is seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity, and personhood.”
-Coretta Scott King
27 April 1927 – 30 January 2006
Coretta was an American author, activist, and civil rights leader. The widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King helped lead the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
Mrs. King played a prominent role in the years after her husband’s 1968 assassination when she took on the leadership of the struggle for racial equality herself and became active in the Women’s Movement and the LGBT rights movement.
Coretta Scott King played an extremely important role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Martin wrote of her that, “I am indebted to my wife Coretta, without whose love, sacrifices, and loyalty neither life nor work would bring fulfillment. She has given me words of consolation when I needed them and a well-ordered home where Christian love is a reality.” However, Martin and Coretta did conflict over her public role in the movement. Martin wanted Coretta to focus on raising their four children, while Coretta wanted to take a more public leadership role.
Coretta Scott King took part in the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 and took an active role in advocating for civil rights legislation. Most prominently, perhaps, she worked hard to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Coretta Scott King broadened her focus to include women’s rights, LGBT rights, economic issues, world peace, and various other causes. As early as December 1968, she called for women to “unite and form a solid block of women power to fight the three great evils of racism, poverty and war”, during a Solidarity Day speech.
As leader of the movement, Mrs. King founded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta. She served as the center’s president and CEO from its inception until she passed the reins of leadership to son Dexter Scott King.
Coretta Scott King was also under surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1968 until 1972. Her husband’s activities had been monitored during his lifetime. Documents obtained by a Houston, Texas television station show that the FBI worried that Coretta Scott King would “tie the anti-Vietnam movement to the civil rights movement.” A spokesman for the King family said that they were aware of the surveillance, but had not realized how extensive it was.