Coretta Scott King is dead at age 78
February 3, 2006

Coretta Scott King is dead at age 78

Coretta Scott King, who surged to the forefront of the fight for racial equality after her husband Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in 1968, has died at age 78.

She had never fully recovered from a stroke and heart attack suffered last August.{{more}}

Coretta Scott King played a major back-up role in the civil rights movement until the death of her husband, Martin Luther King, who was assassinated on a Memphis motel balcony on April 4, 1968, while supporting a sanitation workers strike.

Mrs. King, who was in Atlanta at the time, learned of her husband’s shooting in a telephone call from Rev. Jesse Jackson, a call she later described as one, “I seemed subconsciously to have been waiting for all of our lives.”

As she recalled in her autobiography “My Life With Martin Luther King Jr.,” King felt she had to step fully into the civil rights movement.

“Because his task was not finished, I felt that I must rededicate myself to the completion of his work,” she said.

Determined to make sure Americans did not forget her husband or his dream of a color-blind society, she created a memorial and a forum in the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta.

The center has archives containing more than 2,000 King speeches and is built around the King crypt and its eternal flame.