“Most of all I am indebted to my wife, Coretta, without whose love, sacrifices, and loyalty
neither life nor work would bring fullfillment.”
–Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Coretta Scott was born on April 27, 1927 in Heiberger, Alabama.
At age ten young Coretta was working in the cotton fields of Alabama,
hoeing, chopping and picking cotton to add to the family’s income.
The hard labor proved the best motivator for young Coretta to study hard in school
so she would not be trapped in the fields of Alabama picking cotton.
Coretta Scott first learned about injustice of racism in school; each morning Coretta and her older sister, Edythe walked three miles to school regardless of the weather conditions.
White children would ride by Coretta and Edythe on the school bus, this unfairness die not sit well with young Coretta.
Coretta’s mother, Bernice Scott encouraged her daughters to be voracious readers.
“You get an education and be somebody, then you won’t have to depend on anyone for your
livelihood–not even a man.” –Bernice Scott
In 1938 Coretta Scott graduated from elementary school at the top of her sixth grade class.
In 1945 Coretta Scott graduated from Lincoln High School as the class valedictorian– she had the highest grades in her class.
Coretta’s mother strongly encouraged her children to seek higher education.
“If I only have one dress to wear, all of my children will go to college.”
At eighteen, Coretta Scott knew she did not want to remain living in the south.
In the fall of 1945 Coretta Scott arrived at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
In 1948 Dr. Walter F. Anderson, head of the music department at Antioch helped Coretta present her first opera performance. Dr. Anderson also encouraged Coretta to continue her studies either in New York or Boston. Coretta Scott applied to Julliard School in New York and to the New England Conservatory in Boston. She soon found herself with a train ticket to Boston to study opera at the New England Conservatory. Once the scholarship student settled in at the New England Conservatory, she received a phone call from a male admirer named M.L. King.
Coretta Scott was taken aback by the caller:
“This is M.L. King, a mutual friend of ours told me about you and gave me your number.
She said some very wonderful things about you and I’d like very much to meet you and talk
with you.” –Martin Luther King Jr.
It took sometime but Coretta put aside her dreams of becoming an opera star and she began preparing herself to join in the fight for civil and human rights and to become the wife and life partner of
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
On June 18, 1953 Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King Jr. were married on the lawn of Coretta’s parents home in Marion, Alabama.