Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Coretta Scott King

"And those of you who believe in what Martin Luther King, Jr., stood for, I would challenge you today to see that his spirit never dies.... From this moment on we are going to go forward. We are going to continue his work to make all people truly free and to make every person feel that he is a human being." ~CSK

February is Black History Month and a fine time to celebrate Coretta Scott King. Married to Martin Luther King, Jr., she was herself a passionate proponent of social justice. Her original passion was music; she met her husband while a student at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Her concern over civil rights soon took precedence, and she often led marches and gave speeches right aside her husband. After Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968, she determined to preserve her husband’s memory with the foundations for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center for Nonviolent Social Change and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission in 1968, both of which have materialized. Coretta Scott King practiced non-violence in all aspects of her life. She was a vegan, she opposed capital punishment, she opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and she was an advocate of feminism and lesbian and gay rights. She is a recipient of the Gandhi Peace Prize. She passed away on January 30, 2006 at 78.

The Coretta Scott King Award was established in 1969 to carry on the spirited determination of equality that Martin Luther King, Jr. spread throughout our culture. It is awarded to outstanding African American authors whose work expel the spirit of social justice through the medium of children's literature. Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis (also a Newberry Honor) recently won the 2008 Author Award. Author Honor Books are November Blues by Sharon M. Draper and Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali by Charles R. Smith Jr. The Illustrator Award was given to Ashley Bryan for Let it Shine and the Illustrator Honor Books are The Secret Olivia Told Me by N. Joy and Jazz on a Saturday Night by Leo and Diane Dillon.

It is truly profound and inspiring to look at what two people must of sacrificed to stand up for what they believed in, for what is right and true. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, are symbols of perseverance and courage for all of us-- the courage to reflect on the injustices of the past, and the perseverence to grow as individuals and as a society.

No comments: