Former 'Heart of Segregation' Pays Homage 'to a Black Woman'

The cradle of racism held an official funeral for the widow of Martin Luther King, the first time such an honor has been accorded an African American woman. According to this article from El Pais of Spain, unlike 1968 when her husband was murdered, this time there 'wasn't a trace of the Confederate flag anywhere.'

By Yolanda Monge in Washington

February 6, 2006

Original Article (Spanish)    

Coretta Scott King Lies in State Under
Atlanta's Capitol Dome on Monday. (above).

— BBC NEWS VIDEO: Atlanta Pays Homage to
Coretta Scott King, Feb. 5 00:01:37 RealVideo

RealVideo[NEWS SLIDE SHOW: Coretta Scott King].

The Children of Martin Luther King and Coretta
Scott King Gaze Upon Thier Mother for the Last
Time. From left to right, Dexter Scott King, Martin Luther
King III, Rev. Bernice King and Yolanda King. (below)

Dressed in pale pink, with a touch of carmine red on her lips, Coretta Scott King lay in her coffin in the center of the rotonda of the Capitol Building of Georgia. She is the first woman, and the first black person, to whom this honor has been given in what was once the heart of segregation in the United States.

Thousands of people, 42,000 according to the Governor's office, and mostly (African-American) blacks, this past weekend paid solemn tribute to Coretta King, the widow of the civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, who was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Two horses pulled the black hearse, which last Saturday at noon transported King's coffin through the streets of Atlanta to the Capitol Building. An honor guard received the widow of Reverend King at the seat of Government. At the doors, the multitudes ignored an unpleasant day to cheer the first lady in the fight for civil rights.

The Governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue, and his wife, Mary Perdue, escorted the coffin to the glowing chapel. [After King was murdered] in 1968, segregationist Governor Lestor Maddox wouldn't pay tribute to Martin Luther King, and was indignant when faced with the idea that the flags, then dominated by those of the Cenfederate, should wave at half-mast as a sign of respect for "a black man." Upon hearing of the death of the widow of Dr. King, the present Governor ordered that all flags be lowered to half-mast. This time, there wasn't a trace of the Confederate flag anywhere.

A "snapshot" of the last two days taken in Atlanta is very different from one taken in 1968. This is in large part thanks to Coretta King.

"I would not be here today if it wasn't for her," declared the mayor of Atlanta, Shirley Frankin, the first black woman to hold the reins of the city. "I owe my career to King", she admitted. "Coretta King was a woman of great courage, an inspiration to millions of people and one of the most influential figures in the civil rights movement," said Governor Perdue. "She was an anchor and a shining beacon for her husband," he added.

At 78, this woman from Alabama (who met her legendary husband while studying music in Boston) died last Monday in Mexico. Not much has been said in the media of the circumstances surrounding her death.


Martin Luther King, 27, and his wife, Coretta Scott King, emerge from the Montgomery
Court House after his Trial on Charges of Conspiring to Boycott Segregated City
Buses. The Charges Stemmed from the Boycott Triggered By Rosa Parks'
Arrest; Every Living President Except the Ailing Gerald Ford Pay Homage
to the 'First Lady' of the Civil Rights Movement, at Her Funeral on Tuesday.

— C-SPAN Video: Mourning Mixes With Politics at the
Extraordinary Funeral of Coretta Scott King, Feb. 7 00:01:52 RealVideo

Coretta King died of cardiac arrest in the Santa Monica clinic, in Rosarito, in the Mexican State of Baja California, as a result of an "advanced" cancer of the ovaries, according to her doctors. Last Saturday, the Governor of that State ordered the closure of the clinic where American citizens, suffering from cancers diagnosed as incurable, went to undergo alternative treatments outside of those accepted in standard medical practice.

Last year, the late Mrs. King suffered a severe heart attack which prevented her participation in the celebrations honoring the birth date of her husband on January 16, for the first time in 20 years.

Coretta and Martin Luther King, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his struggle for civil rights, married in 1953 and had four children, Yolanda, Dexter, Martin Luther King III and Bernice. Coretta was at the side of Martin in the most tumultuous days of the civil rights movement, and since his assassination dedicated a great part of her life to keep his legacy alive.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) will be the funeral of Coretta, and President Bush will be there. State Representative Randal Mangham declared that the "hour that King could lay with honor under the dome of the Georgian Capitol Building had arrived." "Martin is with her today," said Mangham, adding "She finished the work that he started."

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