“Before I was married to Martin and became a King, I was a proud Scott, shaped by my mother’s discernment and my father’s strength,” a declaration made by Coretta Scott King, one of the most influential and prominent female leaders the world has known. Her family, education, and personality molded her for a life committed to social justice and peace. Coretta entered the world stage in 1955, as the wife of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Her remarkable union with Dr. King resulted not only in four children, who became dedicated to carrying forward their parent’s work, but also in a life devoted to the highest values of human dignity in service to social change.
Born on April 27, 1927, in Marion Alabama, Coretta was the third of four children. She was born in her parents’ home with her paternal great-grandmother Delia Scott, a former slave, presiding as midwife. Her father, Obadiah Scott was one of the first black people in their town to own a vehicle. Before starting his own businesses he worked as a policeman. He ran a clothing shop far from their home and later opened a general store. Her mother, Bernice McMurry Scott, worked as a school bus driver, a church pianist, and for her husband in his business ventures. She served as Worthy Matron for her Eastern Star chapter and was a member of the local Literacy Federated Club.