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Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King
Usage Conditions Apply
Brian Lanker, 31 Aug 1947 - 13 Mar 2011
Coretta Scott King, 27 Apr 1927 - 30 Jan 2006
Gelatin silver print
Image: 70.9 × 71.3 cm (27 15/16 × 28 1/16")
Sheet/Mount: 81.5 × 75.2 cm (32 1/16 × 29 5/8")
Mat: 88.3 × 87 cm (34 3/4 × 34 1/4")
Frame: 91.1 × 89.9 × 4.4 cm (35 7/8 × 35 3/8 × 1 3/4")
Nature & Environment\Plant\Flower\Flowers
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Table
Costume\Dress Accessory\Scarf
Nature & Environment\Plant\Flower\Lily
Coretta Scott King: Female
Coretta Scott King: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Activist\Civil rights activist
Coretta Scott King: Congressional Gold Medal
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; partial gift of Lynda Lanker and a museum purchase made possible with generous support from Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker, Agnes Gund, Kate Kelly and George Schweitzer, Lyndon J. Barrois Sr. and Janine Sherman Barrois, and Mark and Cindy Aron
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
© Brian Lanker Archive
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Marion, Alabama
“It was a good feeling to know that my life had purpose and meaning. After our home in Montgomery was bombed, I had to recommit myself and my life. I realized then that I could be killed and that it was important to make [the civil rights movement] my struggle also.”
— Coretta Scott King
Coretta Scott King embraced the campaigns of her husband, Martin Luther King Jr., for civil rights and social justice, and, following his assassination in 1968, she worked to sustain his initiatives and ensure his legacy. She narrowly escaped injury or death in 1956, when the couple’s home was bombed during the Montgomery bus boycott. In 1968, after her husband was murdered while supporting striking sanitation workers in Memphis, she courageously led a march through that city. With her support, his Poor People’s Campaign moved forward.
After founding the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (1968), Coretta Scott King worked tirelessly to secure a federal holiday honoring her husband. She also spoke out against the war in Vietnam and South African apartheid, while supporting women’s equality. Later, when many in the civil rights community were wary of the gay rights movement, she connected it to the cause of racial justice.
Nacida en Marion, Alabama
“Me sentía bien sabiendo que mi vida tenía propósito y significado. Cuando lanzaron una bomba a nuestra casa en Montgomery, tuve que redefinir mi persona y mi vida. Me di cuenta de que podían matarme y que era importante que [el movimiento de derechos civiles] fuera mi lucha también.”
—Coretta Scott King
Coretta Scott King apoyó las campañas de su esposo Martin Luther King Jr. por los derechos civiles y la justicia social, y tras el asesinato de él en 1968, luchó por continuar sus iniciativas y asegurar su legado. En 1956 Scott King apenas logró salir ilesa cuando atacaron su casa con bombas durante el boicot contra los autobuses en Montgomery. En 1968, cuando su esposo fue asesinado durante la huelga de los recogedores de basura de Memphis, ella encabezó con valentía una marcha en dicha ciudad. Con su respaldo, la Campaña de los Pobres iniciada por King Jr. continuó.
Luego de fundar el Centro Martin Luther King Jr. por el Cambio Social No Violento (1968), Scott King batalló por que se adoptara un día festivo federal en honor a su esposo. También habló contra la guerra de Vietnam y el apartheid en Sudáfrica, y abogó por la igualdad de la mujer. Más tarde, cuando muchos defensores de los derechos civiles miraban con recelo el movimiento pro derechos gay, ella lo vinculó a la causa de la justicia racial.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
I Dream a World: Selections from Brian Lanker’s Portraits of Remarkable Black Women (Part 1)
On View
NPG, North Gallery 220