Whoever coined the phrase, “Behind every great man is a great woman,” must have been referring to Martin Luther King Jr’s wife, Coretta Scott King. While Martin Luther King Jr. is often regarded as the most influential and impactful activist in American history, his wife’s track record for sparking change is just as impressive. Not to mention, Coretta Scott King was also one of the biggest driving forces behind her husband's civil rights movement.
The Alabama native met her husband in Boston while she was studying concert singing at New England Conservatory of Music. Following their 1953 marriage, Coretta Scott King took on the responsibilities of pastor’s wife at Martin Luther King Jr’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.
Despite dedicating her life to raising the four children she shared with Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King still made a career for herself as a humanitarian, balancing her time between her marriage, children and traveling the world to speak out against racial and economic justice, women’s rights, gay rights and religious freedoms. She traveled with her husband quite often supporting many democratic movements around the globe and helped renowned world leaders like Nelson Mandela, Kenneth Kaunda and Corazon Aquino fight for important causes in their country’s development.
Even after her husband’s assassination in 1968, Coretta Scott King continued to fight for social justice until her death in 2006.
The same year her husband was killed she opened up Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, which continues to tackle issues most affecting minorities in the U.S. Coretta Scott King and the center was responsible for helping push legislation that led to the creation of MLK Day, which she said would be “a day of interracial and intercultural cooperation and sharing.”
Check out a few inspiring quotes by Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife below:
1. "Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated."
2. "Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation."
3. "Segregation was wrong when it was forced by white people, and I believe it is still wrong when it is requested by black people."