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Coretta Scott King Fast Facts

Here’s a look at the life of Coretta Scott King, civil rights and peace activist.

Personal

Birth date: April 27, 1927

Death date: January 30, 2006

Birth place: Marion, Alabama

Birth name: Coretta Scott

Father: Obidiah Scott

Mother: Bernice (McMurray) Scott

Marriage: Martin Luther King Jr. (June 18, 1953-April 4, 1968, his death)

Children: Bernice, March 28, 1963; Dexter, January 30, 1961; Martin III, October, 23, 1957; Yolanda, November 17, 1955

Education: Antioch College, B.A. in music and education, 1951; New England Conservatory of Music, voice and violin, 1954

Religion: Baptist

Other Facts

She didn’t believe James Earl Ray murdered her husband, but rather that his assassination was the result of a government conspiracy.

Valedictorian of her high school class.

Timeline

June 18, 1953 – Marries Martin Luther King Jr.

1954 – Moves to Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband when he is named pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

1957 – Accompanies her husband to Ghana to celebrate its independence from Great Britain.

1960s – Performs in a series of Freedom Concerts to raise money for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

April 4, 1968 – Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on his hotel balcony by James Earl Ray.

April 8, 1968 – Leads a silent march of 50,000 people through the streets of Memphis, Tennessee. The next day, she makes a televised speech at her husband’s funeral.

July 1, 1968 – She is the first woman to deliver the class day address at Harvard University.

1968 – Establishes and works for the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

1974 – Develops the Full Employment Action Council, a group of over 100 religious, business, labor, civil and women’s rights organizations dedicated to a national policy of full employment and equal economic opportunity.

1981 – Dedicates The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, a project she worked on for over a decade.

1983 – Forms the Coalition of Conscience, a group of over 800 human rights organizations that sponsors the 20th and 25th anniversary of the March on Washington.

1983 – Lobbies Congress to pass an act to create a national holiday in honor of her late husband. The holiday is first observed in 1986 on the third Monday in January.

1990 – Co-host of the Soviet-American Women’s Summit in Washington, DC.

1995 – Steps down as chairman and chief executive officer of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

January 21, 2002 – Visits the White House on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

January 15, 2004 – King and President George W. Bush lay a wreath at Dr. King’s tomb on what would have been his 75th birthday.

August 16, 2005 – Is admitted to the hospital in fair condition after having a major stroke and mild heart attack.

September 22, 2005 – Is released from the hospital.

January 30, 2006 – Dies at a center for holistic medicine in Mexico.

February 4, 2006 – Is the woman and first African-American to lie in repose in the Rotunda of the Georgia State Capitol. Governor Sonny Perdue’s office estimates that over 42,000 mourners visit King during viewing hours.

February 6, 2006 – Lies in repose at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. More than 115,000 visitors come to pay their respects, according to the National Park Service.

February 7, 2006 – Funeral at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, where her daughter, Bernice, is a minister. Among those in attendance are President George W. Bush and Laura Bush; former presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter; members of the US Congress and civil rights leaders.

Author Profile Photo

CNN Newsource

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