Leadership 4 min read

Coretta Scott King: 4 Inspirational Facts

What you didn't know about the First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement.

“As we dined, Mrs. King retold many of her amazing experiences from the bird’s eye perspective of her deepest reflections.  The memories she shared were moments I had witnessed only through newsreels and history books.  She guided me down a hallway decorated with gripping images reflecting a life on the edge of death, yet illuminated by passion and conviction. 

She shared what it was like during her years with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., including many moments of peril.  As she recalled heart-wrenching experiences, she spoke with the compassion of a mother--somehow, everyone’s mother….”  

-T.D. Jakes, Destiny Step Into Your Purpose  

Mother, author, advocate for social change, visionary--Coretta Scott King remains one of the most influential women of the twentieth century.

She worked alongside her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to help pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Mrs. King devoted her life to spreading the messages of human rights, peaceful resistance and global equality.  Her life’s work stands testament to the power found in living out one’s purpose with strength, dignity and a brave, open heart.

Here are four inspirational facts about Mrs. King’s life that will encourage your own path towards positive growth: 

1. Her Education Paved The Way 

Mrs. King attended Lincoln High School in Marion, Alabama.  Her mother drove the school bus every day and encouraged her daughter to excel in her studies. Coretta was deeply affected by the segregation she experienced and used the pain she endured to build the life she deserved. She pushed herself academically and was awarded a scholarship to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Coretta’s sister Edythe was the first African American to ever attend Antioch and paved the way for Coretta and generations to follow. It was at Antioch where she first joined the NAACP.

2.  Music Played A Role

Mrs. King was inspired in high school by her music teacher to get involved in the performing arts.  Her music teacher demonstrated the passion and dedication needed to follow one’s calling.  Mrs. King recalls loving to sing Handel’s “Messiah” every Christmas; she developed a deep love of the study of music and wanted to be just like her teacher.

While at Antioch College, Coretta was denied the opportunity to student teach in the local public school.  She appealed to the college for help to no avail.  Coretta changed her life’s path and followed her passion for music; she was awarded a scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.  It was during her time in Boston that she met her future husband Martin Luther King, Jr.

Having a role model and mentor not only changed the course of Coretta’s life, but also the course of U.S. history.

3. Author And Multicultural Literature Pioneer 

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards were first awarded in 1969 and continue to recognize the work of innovative writers and illustrators in the area of children’s literature.  Mrs. King joined the task force set up by the American Library Association to honor and support multicultural writers and illustrators.  Mrs. King believed in the transformative power of the written word and wrote the first part to her own memoir, My Life With Martin Luther King Jr., in 1969.

4. She Empowered Creativity With Her Freedom Concerts 

Mrs. King pursued her singing career until she had her four children.  When the demands of being a full time mother prevented her from professionally singing, she channeled her passion and gift into the creation of the Freedom Concerts. The Freedom Concerts gave voice to the struggle for equality and civil rights. Instead of ever giving up on her passion, even when her life circumstances changed, she transformed her talent into a vehicle of creativity, inspiring others towards social change.

Coretta Scott King passed in 2006 but her legacy endures. 

Share your voice


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