Honoring the Life and Accomplishments of Coretta Scott King
Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in honor and remembrance of Coretta Scott King, devoted wife, mother, grandmother and civil rights leader, whose courageous mission has left an indelible light of peace and justice visible across our country and around the world. Mrs. King gracefully raised aloft the dreams and legacy of the most prominent visionary for social change in our nation's history, her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Their unified mission of peacefully dismantling the racist foundation of America would change the course of our Nation forever.
Mrs. King's entire life was framed by dignity, courage and an unwavering commitment to social justice and humanitarian causes. She grew up working in the cotton fields of Alabama, where she experienced the harsh reality of racism. Taught by her parents that only a solid education could open the door to freedom and opportunity, Mrs. King focused on her studies and graduated with honors from Antioch College in southern Ohio, one of the first integrated colleges in the country. While a student, she joined the NAACP and became deeply involved in the civil rights movement, foregoing a career in music to carry out the work of peace and justice.
The assassination of Dr. King did not diminish her resolve. She courageously forged ahead on the road to justice, despite the danger inherent in her noble cause. As a young widow with four young children to raise, Mrs. King remained steadfast in her commitment to her children and also unwavering in her determination to continue on the path set by Dr. King. She took up the torch of her late husband, holding it high and dignified, exposing a broken society degraded by racism and injustice and illuminating the reality of peaceful change.
Refined, articulate and reflecting a quiet grace, Mrs. King did not retreat from the movement sparked by Dr. King. She deliberately stepped out into the sharp glare of the public and bravely marched on, leading civil protests where her husband had marched before. She led an unrelenting effort to establish Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an endeavor that took her fifteen years and over six million petitions. Determined to keep Dr. King's legacy alive, Mrs. King founded the King Center in 1968, serving as its president for 26 years.
Armed with a sharp mind, a warm smile and a passion for social change, Mrs. King journeyed around the world, speaking to college and church audiences and meeting with world leaders. Mrs. King championed the rights of the poor and advocated for social and economic justice for women and for the protection and rights of gay men and lesbian women. She marched in protest against racial discrimination across the South and was arrested for protesting apartheid in South Africa.
Mr. Speaker and Colleagues, please join me in honor, recognition and memory of Coretta Scott King, whose life mission on behalf of human rights has served to raise the collective conscience of the entire world into the promise of universal freedom from oppression. Mrs. King's brilliant legacy, framed in peace, determination and dignity, will forever resound with the voice of her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.--along our urban streets, across the South and around the world--echoing the ongoing struggle for freedom in a chorus of hope that will someday rise with their words on the dawning of a new day of peace and justice for all.