Tuesday, January 31, 2006

R.I.P. Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King died yesterday at age 78. She spent her life determined to continue Dr. King's legacy by fighting for civil rights of all people, African-American, Asian-American, gays and lesbians. While there are some who try to distance the Civil Rights movement with the gay and lesbian movement today, also with the encouragement of the Religious Right who have usurped the language of Dr. King for their own, she realized that homophobia is no different than racism and had to be stamped out.

May the cats be with her and her husband and may they be with us in these dark times as the clock gets rolled back to the 18th century and beyond.

Prominent, friends comment on the life of Coretta Scott King

Published on: 01/31/06

President Bush issued a formal statement from the White House:

"Mrs. King was a remarkable and courageous woman, and a great civil rights leader. She carried on the legacy of her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., including through her extraordinary work at the King Center.

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"Mrs. King's lasting contributions to freedom and equality have made America a better and more compassionate nation."

Poet Maya Angelou said on ABC's "Good Morning America."
"It's a bleak morning for me and for many people and yet it's a great morning because we have a chance to look at her and see what she did and who she was."

"It's bleak because I can't – many of us can't hear her sweet voice but it's great because she did live, and she was ours. I mean African-Americans and white Americans and Asians, Spanish-speaking — she belonged to us and that's a great thing."

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.)

"Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King awakened the conscience of a nation that began the journey toward equality, knocking down the walls of discrimination based on race, on religion, and on ethnicity. We have all benefited so much from their inspiration and their leadership."

Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, on the news on NBC's "Today" show
"I understand that she was asleep last night and her daughter (Bernice King) went in to wake her up and she was not able to and so she quietly slipped away. Her spirit will remain with us just as her husband's has."

Georgia state Rep. Tyrone Brooks, to WSB-TV

"Mrs. King will be known around the world as her own great leader. I'm just so happy now that she can join her husband, Martin."

Congressman Charles Rangel of Harlem

"Her loss is shocking not just to the civil rights movement but to progressives throughout the country and the world. We will miss her. But she certainly picked up the baton when it was dropped by her husband's assassination and continued to move forward in the civil rights arena."

Al Sharpton – activist, former presidential candidate, in a written statement

"She was truly the first lady of the human rights movement." he said. "The only thing worse than losing her is if we never had her."

For those of us that were too young to get to know Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. very well, we got to know Coretta Scott King as a compassionate, caring, yet firm matriarch of the movement for justice. She was kind and gentle with impeccable grace and dignity, yet firm and strong and immovable under issues that she and her husband committed their lives to.

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman

"When the voice of the movement was tragically silenced, the wife of the fallen leader took up his cause and marched forward. Coretta Scott King shared her husband's dream for an America where their children 'will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.'"

White House spokesman Dan Bartlett, on "Fox and Friends"

"What a wonderful woman. President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush were always heartened by meetings they had with Miss King. What an inspiration she has been for so many millions of Americans. Our condolences are with the family. President Bush and Mrs. Bush are deeply saddened by today's news, but they will definitely be in our thoughts and prayers."

Dorothy Height, director National Council of Negro Women

"She surely is one who exemplifies strength and the courage and fortitude of African American women. The way she not only dealt with her loss, but the way that she reared her children. I used to hear her tell women what it meant to be a lone women rearing children, she identified not just with the people at the top, but everyone. She endeared everyone to her."

"I like the way in which she showed how to overcome what could be a great tragedy, for many, it might have been less fruitful. It shows that she in her own mind had accepted non-violence; she tried to carry out in everyone the sense of that achievement. She is one of the least aggressive. So unselfish in whatever she is doing."

John Conyers, Michigan Congressman – Democrat. Introduced King Holiday Bill

"I have known Coretta ever since I went South in the civil rights movement as a lawyer. She was a vibrant, consistent totally dedicated partner of her husband. She helped him stay strong. Especially in the beginning when there were so many threats and challenges to the revolutionary idea that we would start a civil rights movement in the South itself. A lot of people tried to dissuade Martin from that. And she helped agree with him that that is where it should and ought to begin."

Dick Gregory, civil rights activist, comedian

"What she has been able to do when she didn't have to. She could have said I paid my dues. I lost my husband, children lost a father. But she didn't and that is why she has been so blessed."

"The great thing I have is every year for Christmas and birthday I get a birthday card from her. I look forward to Christmas. I look forward to my birthday, because of that. I just love her. You cannot look at her face and tell what she has been through."


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