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Coretta Scott King Dies at 78


Tim Gratz
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From AP Services:

Coretta Scott King, known first as the wife of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., then as his widow, then as an avid proselytizer for his vision of racial peace and nonviolent social change, died Monday at a hospital in Mexico. She was 78.

The primary cause of death was "insufficient cardio-respiratory," which simply means her heart and breathing stopped, said Dr. Carlos Guerrero Tejada, who certified her death. The underlying causes were cerebral vascular disease and ovarian cancer, according to the death certificate.

Mrs. King died at Hospital Santa Mónica in Rosarito, Mexico, about 16 miles south of San Diego. She was admitted to the hospital last Thursday, said her sister, Edythe Scott Bagley. Mrs. Bagley said Mrs. King's body would be returned to her home, Atlanta, for entombment next to her husband, whose crypt is at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center there.

Mrs. King had been in failing health after a stroke and a heart attack last August. She appeared at a dinner honoring her husband on Jan. 14 but did not speak.

Andrew Young, a former United Nations ambassador and longtime family friend, said at a news conference yesterday morning that Mrs. King died in her sleep.

"She was a woman born to struggle," Mr. Young said, "and she has struggled and she has overcome." Mrs. King rose from rural poverty in Heiberger, Ala., and became an international symbol of the civil rights movement of the 1960's. She was an advocate for women's rights, the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, and other social and political issues.

In 1952, she was studying music at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston when she met a young graduate student in philosophy, who, on their first date, told her: "The four things that I look for in a wife are character, personality, intelligence and beauty. And you have them all." A year later she and Dr. King, then a young minister from a prominent Atlanta family, were married, beginning a remarkable partnership that ended with Dr. King's assassination in Memphis on April 4, 1968.

Mrs. King did not hesitate to pick up his mantle, marching before her husband was even buried at the head of the striking garbage workers he had gone to Memphis to champion. She went on to lead the effort for a national holiday in his honor and to found the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change in Atlanta, dedicated both to scholarship and to activism.

In addition to dealing with her husband's death, which left her with four young children, Mrs. King faced other trials and controversies. She was at times viewed as chilly and aloof by others in the civil rights movement. The King Center was criticized as competing for funds and siphoning energy from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which Dr. King had helped found. In recent years, the center had been widely viewed as adrift, characterized by squabbling within the family and a focus more on Dr. King's legacy than on continuing his work. Many allies were baffled and hurt by her campaign to exonerate James Earl Ray, who in 1969 pleaded guilty to her husband's murder, and her contention that Ray did not commit the crime.

More often, however, Mrs. King has been seen as an inspirational figure, a woman of enormous spiritual depth who came to personify the ideals Dr. King fought for.

"She'll be remembered as a strong woman whose grace and dignity held up the image of her husband as a man of peace, of racial justice, of fairness," said the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. King and then served as its president for 20 years. "I don't know that she was a civil rights leader in the truest sense, but she became a civil rights figure and a civil rights icon because of what she came to represent."

Coretta Scott was born April 27, 1927, the second of three children born to Obadiah and Bernice Scott. She grew up in a two-room house that her father had built on land that had been owned by the family for three generations.

The family was poor, and she grew up picking cotton in the hot fields of the segregated South or doing housework. But Mr. Scott hauled timber, owned a country store and worked as a barber. His wife drove a school bus, and the whole family helped raise hogs, cows, chickens and vegetables. So, by the standards of blacks in Alabama at the time, the family had both resources and ambitions beyond the reach of most others.

Some of Coretta Scott's earliest insights into the injustice of segregation came as she walked to her one-room schoolhouse each day, watching buses of white children stir up dust as they passed. She got her first sense of the world beyond rural Alabama when she attended the Lincoln School, a private missionary institution in nearby Marion, where she studied piano and voice and had her first encounters with college-educated teachers, and where she resolved to flee to a world far beyond rural, segregated Alabama.

(MORE FOLLOWS)

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god bless her, free at last.

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Your article missed out the fact that Coretta Scott King remained opposed to everything that right-wing Republicans believed in. She was a strong opponent of the Vietnam War. Like her husband, she supported a redistributive tax system and universal health care. It was of course while Martin Luther King was campaigning on behalf of low paid workers that he was assassinated.

Coretta Scott King was also a strong opponent of South African racism. In fact, she was arrested and briefly imprisoned for protesting against Ronald Reagan’s refusal to impose sanctions on South Africa.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/st...1699170,00.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story...1699074,00.html

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Many allies were baffled and hurt by her campaign to exonerate James Earl Ray, who in 1969 pleaded guilty to her husband's murder, and her contention that Ray did not commit the crime.

The fact that a widow wants to know who really killed her husband leaves "allies" "baffled and hurt." With friends like that, who needs enemies?

In contrast, the Kennedy family publicly has never even exhibited curiosity about who really killed John (and then Robert). With family like that, who needs enemies?

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In contrast, the Kennedy family publicly has never even exhibited curiosity about who really killed John (and then Robert). With family like that, who needs enemies?

Ron, I think the emphasis here should be on the word "publicly", but even that would not be accurate. Kennedy's cousin Kerry McCarthy has delivered positively barnburning speeches at at least 2 of Lancer's November in Dallas conferences. She wholeheartedly supports the work of the research community. I heard her at the '99 conference and came away with the distinct impression that she is not the only family member who is "curious" about the case. It is quite common for media pundits to bemoan the seemingly endless stream of "conspiracy books" about the JFK case, but I personally have never heard of any member of the Kennedy family making such a complaint.

On the other hand, in a December 17 post on the topic of Senator Eugene McCarthy, you wrote the following:

"Then why did the third brother run for president, after the first two had been executed? Still no hint of danger? Plus there was Teddy's own narrow escape in a small-plane crash (a time-honored method of political assassination) in the mid-'60s. (And some believe that he was set up at Chappaquiddick.) What does it take for a person, or at least for a Kennedy, to get the message?"

That was then. Now you are suggesting that JFK's family are no better than his enemies. What gives?

Sigmund Freud had a theory that the dividing line between a primitive society and a civilized society is that primitives pursue revenge while civilized people forswear revenge. Civilized society itself assumes the responsibility to pursue justice, allowing the victim's family to grieve privately and in peace. To the extent that the Kennedy family has been silent about JFK's murder, that suggests only that they believe they live in a civilized society.

Sadly for all of us, Coretta Scott King knew otherwise.

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Kennedy's cousin Kerry McCarthy has delivered positively barnburning speeches at at least 2 of Lancer's November in Dallas conferences. She wholeheartedly supports the work of the research community.

I recall reading about her. But I'm thinking more in terms of sons and brothers. RFK had several sons, yet the last thing I remember one of them saying anything publicly about the assassinations was when one of them (the one who was a Congressman, can't remember his name) got upset when questions about the JFK autopsy were raised in the news. He said something about let's just let him rest in peace.

And then there's John Jr., who when he grew up started a slick magazine that made American politics look like a world of glamour instead of a deadly game that claimed the lives of his father and uncle. His magazine made me rather sick to my stomach, considering who owned it.

Now you are suggesting that JFK's family are no better than his enemies. What gives?

I didn't suggest that. I used a cliche that doesn't suggest that either. I don't think any family members participated in the assassination, though remarkably I have seen it suggested that Bobby might as well have pulled the trigger on John. An argument can also be made that in some fateful ways John and Bobby were their own worst enemies (having such a knack for making them).

To the extent that the Kennedy family has been silent about JFK's murder, that suggests only that they believe they live in a civilized society.

What may bother me more than their silence is that Kennedys chose to remain in the very political system that had JFK and RFK killed. It's not like Kennedys stayed in American government because they needed the money. If they thought they could somehow change the system, I could have told them they would fail.

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What may bother me more than their silence is that Kennedys chose to remain in the very political system that had JFK and RFK killed. It's not like Kennedys stayed in American government because they needed the money. If they thought they could somehow change the system, I could have told them they would fail.

Thank you Ron, I think I'm beginning to understand your argument. What it boils down to is that for various reasons, not all of which are in contradition, you want no more Kennedy's in politics. Indeed, If they had asked you back in the day, Ron Ecker could have told them not to bother entering politics in the first place.

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Thank you Ron, I think I'm beginning to understand your argument. What it boils down to is that for various reasons, not all of which are in contradition, you want no more Kennedy's in politics. Indeed, If they had asked you back in the day, Ron Ecker could have told them not to bother entering politics in the first place.

Hogwash.

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And then there's John Jr., who when he grew up started a slick magazine that made American politics look like a world of glamour instead of a deadly game that claimed the lives of his father and uncle. His magazine made me rather sick to my stomach, considering who owned it.

Wowie! That's ... some kind of statement! :cheers

I thoroughly enjoyed John Jr.'s magazine, George. His interview with Fidel Castro was far from being about the "world of glamour."

As for Coretta Scott King, the topic of this thread, it saddened me that she had to leave the country to die on her own terms.

T.C.

Edited by Tim Carroll
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I thoroughly enjoyed John Jr.'s magazine, George. His interview with Fidel Castro was far from being about the "world of glamour."

I remember the premier issue, which is what upset my stomach. I didn't pay much attention to it thereafter, so maybe it improved in its substance.

He interviewed Castro? Tim Gratz might want to comment on John Jr. interviewing John Sr.'s killer.

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What I found more interesting was that the only piece ever printed in "George" re the assassination was one written by Epstein re the Cubela matter, strongly implying that Cubela was an agent provocateur for Castro. It came AFTER the Castro interview.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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What I found more interesting was that the only piece ever printed in "George" re the assassination was one written by Epstein re the Cubela matter, strongly implying that Cubela was an agent provocateur for Castro. It came AFTER the Castro interview.

If it came "AFTER the Castro interview," then it came AFTER JFK Jr.'s death. If my memory serves me correctly, the Castro interview was published in the first edition following the plane crash.

T.C.

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Tim as usual is correct. It was in one of the last editions. Because of the long lead-time in a magazine it can be reasonably presumed that JFK, Jr. had approved the author and the subject of the article. That JFK, Jr. selected Epstein may have some significance on his opinion of the conspiracy.

Of course, other than of historical evidence, the opinion of JFK, Jr. has no evidential value in the assassination research.

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