Timeline: Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King – Wife of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Coretta Scott King was a renowned American civil rights activist, author and the wife of Martin Luther King Jr. She was most known for being very active and vocal in the civil rights movement which began in full force around the 1950s.

This timeline outlines the major events in the life of Coretta Scott King, a civil rights activist and wife of Martin Luther King Jr.

1927: Coretta Scott is born on April 27 in Marion, Alabama, U.S.

1945: Graduates from Lincoln Normal School

1952: Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta’s relationship blossoms.

1953: Coretta Scott marries Martin Luther King, Jr. on June 18 in a ceremony officiated by Martin Luther King, Sr (King Jr.’s father).

1954: Coretta moves with King to Montgomery, Alabama. King had accepted the pastor position in Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

Yolanda King

Yolanda King (middle) pictured with her parents – Coretta King and MLK

1955: Coretta and MLK give birth to Yolanda on November 17. Yolanda is the first child of the couple.

On December 23, 1955: Gun shots rain down on the door of Coretta’s home. No one was hurt in the incident.

1956: As the Montgomery Bus Boycott intensifies, Coretta endures threatening letters from white supremacist groups.

January 30, 1956: An explosion occurs in front of Coretta’s home. The assailant sped away before witnesses could pick his number plate.

Coretta refuses to leave for Atlanta, preferring to stay and stand with King Jr.’s struggle.

1957: Coretta and MLK welcome their second child, Martin Luther King III, on October 23, 1957.

1958: Her role in the civil right movement becomes more pronounced.

September 20, 1958: Coretta and her husband take a five-week tour of India.

October, 1960: Coretta receives words of support during a telephone conversation with John F. Kennedy.

November, 1960: Coretta King and her family supports the presidential bid of JFK, seeing him as one who could help advance the civil rights of African Americans.

1961: Coretta and MLK welcome their third child, Dexter, who is born on January 30, 1961.

April, 1962: Partakes in the Women’s Strike for Peace Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

March 28, 1963: Coretta’s fourth and last child is born. The child is named Bernice Albertine King.

November 1963: Attends a Women Strike for Peace rally in New York.

November 22, 1963: Coretta is informed about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The Kings are shocked to the core about the passing of JFK, a strong ally in the Civil Rights Movement.

1964: Plays a crucial role in getting the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed.

February 1965: Coretta and Malcolm X discuss the current state of affairs in the civil rights movement. A few days later, Malcolm X gets assassinated.

March, 1965: Partakes in the historic Selma-to-Montgomery March.

January 1966: Chastises the civil rights movement for downplaying the contributions of women activists.

January 1968: Attends the Women Strike for Peace protest in Washington, D. C. The protest is attended by more than five thousand women, who call themselves the Jeannette Rankin Brigade. The protest was largely in honor of Jeannette Rankin, the first female U.S. House of Representative.

April 4, 1968: Coretta’s life comes to a standstill with the news of the assassination of her husband Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee.

The news of MLK’s death was broken to her by Jesse Jackson.

April 5, 1968: Coretta makes the journey to Memphis to bring home the body of her husband.

April 7, 1968: Gives a speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

April 8, 1968: In spite of her loss, Coretta joins hands with sanitation workers in a march.

April 9, 1968: The funeral of MLK is held. The event was attended by the likes of Richard Nixon.

April 27, 1968: Partakes in an anti-war protest in Central Park, New York City.

June, 1968: Coretta learns of the death of another ally in the civil rights movement, Bobby Kennedy.

December, 1968: Issues such as women’s rights and rights of LGBT get incorporated into Coretta King’s activism. She also takes part in several initiatives to tackle poverty and war.

1969: Coretta King is thrust into leading the Civil Rights Movement after Josephine Baker declines to fill the shoes left behind by MLK.

January, 1969: Coretta takes a trip to India.

1969: Coretta King’s memoir, titled My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr., is published.

1973: Attends the funeral of former US President Lyndon B. Johnson.

1980: Becomes a commentator for CNN.

1983: Calls on legislators on Capitol Hill to expand the Civil Rights Act to include the LGBT community.

1985: Coretta King and her children – Bernice and Martin Luther King III – take part in an anti-apartheid protest just outside the South African embassy in Washington D.C. The trio get arrested for their actions.

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King timeline

1986: After years of campaigning, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day becomes a federal holiday. The legislation backing the federal holiday was signed by President Ronald Reagan. Mrs King was in attendance.

March 8, 1986: Delivers a lecture about civil rights at the University of San Diego.

September 1986: Makes a trip South Africa where she meets the likes of Allan Boesak and Nelson Mandela.

January, 1993: Calls for peace protests across the nation over a missile strike on Iraq.

February, 1993: Praises FBI boss William S. Sessions for his efforts in restructuring the FBI and including ethnic minorities and women in the organization.

1995: Joins forces with Betty Shabazz and Myrlie Evers to encourage more than one million African American women to register for the presidential election.

1997: Delivers a speech at Loyola University (Lake Shore campus).

1997: Donates $5,000 to help in the rehabilitation of Betty Shabazz (the widow of Malcolm X) who had suffered burns from a fire incident in her home.

2005: The Coretta Scott King Center is established at Antioch College in Yellow Springs.

March 2005: Speaks at 40th anniversary of the Selma Voting Rights Movement in Selma.

April 2005: Coretta King’s health deteriorates as she is hospitalized with mild heart complications.

August 16, 2005: As a result of the stroke and heart attack she suffers, she loses control of the right side of her body. She is also unable to speak.

January 30, 2006: Coretta Scott King passes away at a rehabilitation center in Mexico. The cause of her death was a mix of respiratory failure and an ovarian cancer.

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King timeline

February 7, 2006: Coretta King’s funeral was attended by over 10,000 people, including five US presidents – Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush. Also in attendance was then-Senator Barack Obama (later 44th U.S. President).

Per Coretta Scott King’s wishes, her body was interred next to her husband at the King Center.

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