UPDATE: The winner is…bn100!
Born in the segregated South of Heilberger, Alabama in 1927, Coretta Scott’s early life was shaped by her family’s long history in fighting against racial injustice. In 1945, she entered Antioch College in Ohio to study music, all the while actively engaging in civil rights activity through the college’s Race Relations and Civil Liberties Committees and the local chapter of the NAACP.
She won a scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music and moved to Boston in 1952. There she met Martin Luther King Jr. They married in 1953 in a ceremony in which she had the vow to obey her husband removed. After completing her degree in voice and piano in 1954, she moved with her husband to Montgomery, Alabama.
In 1968, she did not allow the tragedy of his assassination to stop her pursuit of justice. She established The King Center to advance his legacy and ideas. To make sure that legacy was not whitewashed, she fought to make sure quotes reflecting his stance on the Vietnam War were included in the King Memorial dedicated in Washington DC in 2011.
In the 1980s, she drew comparisons between the fight against apartheid and the Civil Rights Movement. After meeting with Winnie Mandela and Allan Boesak, she came back to the US and urged then-President Regan to approve economic sanctions against South Africa.
In 1983, she urged amending the Civil Rights Act to include gays and lesbians as a protected class. She called on the civil rights community to join in the struggle against homophobia and anti-gay bias in 1993. In 2003, she made history by inviting the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to take part in observances of the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington and her husband’s “I Have A Dream Speech.” It was the first time that an LGBTQIA rights group had been invited to a major event of the African-American community.
Having been an advocate for peace as early as 1957 when she helped found The Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, it came as no surprise she spoke out against the attack on Iraq in 1993. In 2004, the government of India awarded her the Gandhi Peace Prize.
In 2005, she allowed Antioch College to name a center after her. The Coretta Scott King Center for Cultural and Intellectual Freedom addresses issues of race, class, gender, diversity, and social justice. She received numerous awards and recognitions for her activism before she died in 2006.
Moneta Sleet Jr.’s Pulitzer prize winning image of Coretta’s stoic expression while she holds her youngest daughter on her lap during her husband’s funeral is indelibly branded in my memory. Yet, I hope you can see from what I just shared that she enhanced that dignified image by living the life of a courageous activist whose impact rippled across the nation and in the world.
For a chance at a $10 Amazon gift card, share your thoughts on the life of Coretta Scott King or any courageous woman you admire.
Better To Marry Than To Burn by Michal Scott
Blurb: Wife Wanted: Marital relations as necessary. Love not required nor sought…
A bridal lottery seems the height of foolishness to ex-slave Caesar King, but his refusal to participate in the town council’s scheme places him in a bind. He has to get married to avoid paying a high residence fine or leave the Texas territory. After losing his wife in childbirth, Caesar isn’t ready for romance. A woman looking for a fresh start without any emotional strings is what he needs.
Queen Esther Payne, a freeborn black from Philadelphia, has been threatened by her family for her forward-thinking, independent ways. Her family insists she marry. Her escape comes in the form of an ad. If she must marry, it will be on her terms. But her first meeting with the sinfully hot farmer proves an exciting tussle of wills that stirs her physically, intellectually, and emotionally.
In the battle of sexual one-upmanship that ensues, both Caesar and Queen discover surrender can be as fulfilling as triumph.
“Our children?” She swiveled in her seat. “You made no mention of wanting children, just marital relations as necessary. I understood that to mean intercourse.”
“I wrote I wanted to leave a legacy.”
“A legacy. Not a dynasty.”
“Legacy. Dynasty. Is there really so sharp a distinction?”
“To my mind there is. I understood you meant to affect future generations—endow schools, found churches, create civic associations. I didn’t realize that meant children. I agreed to having sex, not having children.”
“Of course I want children.” His brows grew heavy as he frowned. “Doesn’t having sex lead to having children?”
“Not with the right precautions.”
His frown deepened. “Precautions?”
“There are many ways to prevent your seed from taking root, Mr. King.”
“I want children, Mrs. King.”
Her lips twisted and her brow furrowed, but she kept her silence.
“All right,” she said. “You can have children with any woman you like. I won’t stop you. I free you from any claim to fidelity.”
“Legacy—or dynasty if you will—means legitimacy. No bastard will carry my name, not when I have a wife to bear me children.”
Her tone signaled she didn’t.