Coretta Scott King, 78, Dies-What A Great Woman, Married To A Great Man, Who Did So Much To Fight Against The Racism That The Mormon Church Supported!
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
ATLANTA — Coretta Scott King, who turned a life shattered by her husband's assassination into one devoted to enshrining his legacy of human rights and equality, has died at the age of 78.
Flags at the King Center were lowered to half-staff Tuesday morning.
"We appreciate the prayers and condolences from people across the country," the King family said in a statement. The family said she died during the night. The widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. suffered a serious stroke and heart attack last August.
"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," poet Maya Angelou said on ABC's "Good Morning America."
"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."
Gov. Sonny Perdue ordered flags at all state buildings to be flown at half-staff and offered to allow King to lie in state at the Capitol. There was no immediate response to the offer, the governor's office said
King died at Santa Monica Health Institute, a holistic health center in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, south of San Diego, said her sister, Edythe Scott Bagley of Cheyney, Pa.
Bishop T.D. Jakes of the Potter's House in Dallas, one of the nation's largest Christian megachurches, said he helped arrange her trip to Mexico but didn't know much about the treatment she received there.
She had gone to California to rest and be with family, according to Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, who broke the news of her death on NBC's "Today" show.
At a news conference, Young said Coretta King's fortitude rivaled that of her husband.
"She was strong if not stronger than he was," Young said. "She lived a graceful and beautiful life, and in spite of all of the difficulties, she managed a graceful and beautiful passing."
She was a supportive lieutenant to her husband during the most tumultuous days of the American civil rights movement, and after his assassination in Memphis, Tenn., on April 4, 1968, she kept his dream alive while also raising their four children.
"I'm more determined than ever that my husband's dream will become a reality," King said soon after his slaying.
She goaded and pulled for more than a decade to have her husband's birthday observed as a national holiday, first celebrated in 1986.
King became a symbol, in her own right, of her husband's struggle for peace and brotherhood, presiding with a quiet, steady, stoic presence over seminars and conferences on global issues.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was with her husband when he was assassinated, said Tuesday that she understood that every time he left home, there was the chance he might not come back. "Like all great champions, she learned to function with pain and keep serving," he said. "So her legacy is secure as a freedom fighter, but her work remains unfinished."
In Washington, President Bush hailed her as "a remarkable and courageous woman, and a great civil rights leader."
King wrote a book, "My Life With Martin Luther King Jr.," and, in 1969 founded the multimillion-dollar Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. She saw to it that the center became deeply involved with the issues she said breed violence — hunger, unemployment, voting rights and racism.
"The center enables us to go out and struggle against the evils in our society," she often said.
She became increasingly outspoken against businesses such as film and television companies, video arcades, gun manufacturers and toy makers she accused of promoting violence. She called for regulation of their advertising.
After her stroke, King missed the annual King holiday celebration in Atlanta two weeks ago, but she did appear with her children at an awards dinner a couple of days earlier, smiling from her wheelchair but not speaking. The crowd gave her a standing ovation.
At the same time, the King Center's board of directors was considering selling the site to the National Park Service to let the family focus less on grounds maintenance and more on King's message. Two of the four children were strongly against such a move.
Also in the news recently was a new book, "At Canaan's Edge" by Taylor Branch, that put allegations of her husband's infidelity back in the spotlight. It said her husband confessed a long-standing affair to her not long before he was assassinated.
Coretta Scott was studying voice at the New England Conservatory of Music and planning on a singing career when a friend introduced her to Martin Luther King, a young Baptist minister studying at Boston University.
"She said she wanted me to meet a very promising young minister from Atlanta," King once said, adding with a laugh: "I wasn't interested in meeting a young minister at that time."
She recalled that on their first date he told her: "You know, you have everything I ever wanted in a woman. We ought to get married someday." Eighteen months later — June 18, 1953 — they did, at her parents' home in Marion, Ala.
The couple moved to Montgomery, Ala., where he became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and organized the famed Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. With that campaign, King began enacting his philosophy of direct social action.
Over the years, King was with her husband in his finest hours. She was at his side as he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. She marched beside him from Selma, Ala., into Montgomery in 1965 for the triumphal climax to his drive for a voting rights law.
Only days after his death, she flew to Memphis with three of her children to lead thousands marching in honor of her slain husband and to plead for his cause.
"I think you rise to the occasion in a crisis," she once said. "I think the Lord gives you strength when you need it. God was using us — and now he's using me, too."
The King family, especially King and her father-in-law, Martin Luther King Sr., were highly visible in 1976 when former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter ran for president. When an integration dispute at Carter's Plains church created a furor, King campaigned at Carter's side the next day.
She later was named by Carter to serve as part of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, where Young was the ambassador.
In 1997, she spoke out in favor of a push to grant a trial for James Earl Ray, who pleaded guilty to killing her husband and then recanted.
"Even if no new light is shed on the facts concerning my husband's assassination, at least we and the nation can have the satisfaction of knowing that justice has run its course in this tragedy," she told a judge.
The trial never took place; Ray died in 1998.
King was born April 27, 1927, in Perry County, Ala. Her father ran a country store. To help her family during the Depression, young Coretta picked cotton; later, she worked as a waitress to earn her way through Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
In 1994, King stepped down as head of the King Center, passing the job to son Dexter, who in turn passed the job on to her other son, Martin III, in 2004. Dexter continued to serve as the center's chief operating officer. Martin III also has served on the Fulton County (Ga.) commission and as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, co-founded by his father in 1957. Daughter Yolanda became an actress and the youngest child, Bernice, became a Baptist minister.
On the 25th anniversary of her husband's death, April 5, 1993, King said the war in Vietnam which her husband opposed "has been replaced by an undeclared war on our central cities, a war being fought by gangs with guns for drugs."
"The value of life in our cities has become as cheap as the price of a gun," she said.
King received numerous honors for herself and traveled around the world in the process.
In London, she stood in 1969 in the same carved pulpit in St. Paul's Cathedral where her husband preached five years earlier.
"Many despair at all the evil and unrest and disorder in the world today," she preached, "but I see a new social order and I see the dawn of a new day."
Martin Luther King Jr, had a dream that the Mormon Church and their version of God, apparently did not share or believe in, as they continued banning black men and women from entering their temple, considered the Lords holy house, until 1978.
Even though it was men that were banned from having the Priesthood (since women can't have it), women were also banned from entering the temple without any explanation that I've been able to find. If it was all because of the Priesthood, and not having it, that doesn't explain the banning of women does it?
Blacks were unable to be sealed as an Eternal Family, which is the benchmark that the Mormon Church claims to be one of the central focuses of their beliefs and teachings. Why would God be racist? Why would he curse blacks due to Cain's transgression? After all, the Mormon's teach that we won't be punished for Adam's' transgression, but I guess that didn't include blacks being punished for Cain's. Yeah, that makes sense, doesn't it?
The Mormon Church has only offered this equality for 27 years? Can you believe that? 27 years wasn't that long ago. Were they that far behind the world? Absolutely and what an embarrassment. How could an omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent God be so far behind the times and not know what the right thing to do was? Well, if he was really God, he would be ahead of the curve, leading the way, not bringing up the rear and fighting the right thing to do.
Ask the Mormon Hierarchy (Hinckley) and they'll dismiss it as "little flecks of history" that are "now behind us." They blame it on God without taking one shred of responsibility for their racist views and big mistakes. They can't even apologize and say 3 simple words, "WE ARE SORRY." What does this say about the Mormon religion?
So far, as far as I can tell, there have been only two black General Authorities in 175 years. The first one, believed to be ordained and called by Joseph Smith, was Elijah Abel. After serving many missions, he got sick on his last mission from exposure and gave his life for the Mormon Church and died shorty after returning back home to Salt lake City, Utah in December 1884.
What I just recently learned, is that his Son and 2 Grandsons were also believed to be allowed to have the Priesthood. One other note, is that Brigham Young, the biggest racist/bigot that the Mormon Church has ever known, forbid Elijah Abel to receive his temple endowment due to his black skin. There also appears to be a few other exceptions to blacks receiving the Priesthood, but I have no proof of these claims. As far as I know, the temple ban always stood, until 1978.
In 1978, the Mormon Church finally gave blacks the Priesthood after basically pleading with God, I know, unbelievable that they would have to plead with a racist God to allow blacks to have his precious Priesthood. The reality was that they were baptizing people in Brazil and realizing that most of them had black blood in their heritage. (chapter 2) These people were donating money and helping to build a temple that they wouldn't be able to enter. The Mormon Church was facing a PR nightmare and that's where this revelation actually came from.
Anyway, 12 years later, they called Helvécio Martins to be a Seventy and to date, he is the only modern day black man, to my knowledge, to be called as a General Authority. He served his 5 years and was released. His Son was the first modern day black Mormon missionary and he was called to go on his mission, despite being like a month or less away from getting married.
The Church used him as the "token" black missionary and asked him to put his marriage on hold for two years, which unfortunately, he did. What a shame!! Can you imagine how hard that must have been on both him and his bride? As Hinckley says, "nothing is too good for the Lord", right?
While blacks can now go the temple, and have their Eternal Family, no ground has been made in calling them to high positions of leadership, especially to be a General Authority. All one has to do is look at the May 2005 or November 2005 Ensign, at the picture of General Authorities and you won't see one black man in the mix.
That just proves everything I'm saying. When Hinckley tells Larry King that he could possibly see a black man as Prophet one day, or that it's "in the realm of possibility", he is being disingenuous at the least and flat out lying at the worst.
Since Bednar is in his mid 50's and the youngest Apostle, we are probably at least 40-50 years away from anyone under Bednar being the prophet, let alone a black man, since their isn't even a black Seventy, let alone a black Apostle. The Mormon Church talks the talk, but they rarely, if ever, actually walk the walk. It is disgraceful.
There will never be a black Mormon Prophet and I highly doubt that we'll ever see a black Apostle. Maybe a Seventy, but that's even doubtful at this point. Amazing that not one worthy black man, exists on the earth, to be called as a Mormon General Authority, isn't it? Wake up people!! The racism that the Kings fought so hard against, still lives strong in the Mormon Church.
It's too bad that the Mormon Church of the past or the present, couldn't and can't see the same dream of equality that Martin Luther King and his wife, Coretta Scott King fought for their entire lives. Martin Luther King gave his life for his dream in the end.
So, while the King's and many others were fighting for equality, unity, togetherness and love, the Mormon Church was fighting against equality for both blacks and women, homosexuals and preaching doctrines of division, racism, bigotry and separation. What a contrast eh?
There can be no doubt that these were not the actions of any God or "men inspired of God." While the world fought for unity, change and equality, the Mormon Church stood their ground, as they fought and clung to their racist and bigoted views and still do, to this day, in my opinion, especially regarding anyone that is homosexual. That seems to be the Mormon Church's new, public battle. Coretta King had even mentioned that if her Husband were still alive today, he would have also fought for Gay rights, again, in complete contradiction to God's supposed "only true Church."
Is there really any doubt that Martin and Coretta King have done far more good, taught more love, acceptance, helped millions more people and many more generations and have a greater legacy and influence, just those two people alone, than the Mormon Church, collectively, has accomplished in the last 175 years. There is no doubt about it!! In fact, the Mormon Church has taught the opposite.
Now that's pretty embarrassing for a Church that claims to be the "one and only true Church of Jesus Christ on the planet earth", isn't it? I'm so proud to be a non-Mormon and to be able to disavow these racist, hate-filled teachings, that have caused so many people, so much pain. I can now apologize to the world for the awful racist and bigoted teachings of Mormonism, both past and present. Someone has to do it, since they never will.
May God bless Martin and Coretta King for all that they accomplished and for all of the people that they have helped, as they are reunited once again to share that love that they have both surely missed all these years after his tragic death that came way too soon. If anyone was a martyr for their cause, it was Martin Luther King Jr, not Joseph Smith. They don't even belong in the same sentence together.
May Martin and Coretta King rest in peace and rejoice in their reunion this night!!
Samuel the Utahnite
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