While we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I remember when I got to hear his wife Coretta Scott King speak when I was in college at Richard Stockton College in Pomona, NJ in 2004. She was very inspiring as she talked about her life. Following is an article I wrote:
Coretta Scott King passed away January 31, 2006. She inspired everyone when she spoke to Richard Stockton College students and guests on March 23rd 2004. She challenged everyone to develop future leaders to lead the way to a just, peaceful and prosperous future. She said each person has potential within, and it is important to develop those gifts. We need courage, integrity, good judgment and consensus building and lead by example and empower others to become leaders.
Martin Luther King, Jr. married Coretta in 1953. They met while she attended New England Conservatory of Music. The Civil Rights leader thought his wife was stronger than he was. She remembered her husband affectionately and his concern for others and his strong work ethic. He skipped 2 grades and began college at fifteen. He attended Crozier Theological Seminary outside of Philadelphia and it was at an off-campus lecture by Howard University President Johnson that Martin was inspired by the life of Ghandi to work through non-violent means for social change.
She believed the power of love is important in social reform, and she encouraged everyone to broaden his or her horizons and to continue life-long learning. "It is necessary to try out your ideas in the real world. You must inform others of injustice, win the hearts of your adversaries and bring reconciliation. Diplomacy and statesmanship are better than demonizing your adversaries."
She remembered the suffering they faced while having their house bombed and her husband spending time in jail. When kids teased that their father was a jailbird, they replied, “No, he is helping people.” That was how they were trained. He walked the walk, not just talked the talk.
“Violence is the language of the unheard,” she explained. People need to listen to their adversaries and try to understand their assessment of them. Non-violence was a way of life for Martin. Their faith was a source of strength and they used the power of love. She remembers the night their house was bombed that Martin calmed down the crowd that gathered to retaliate. “Stand up for truth and justice and I will be with you” was the word they got from God.
Mrs. King encouraged women and minorities to be better represented in Congress where women only make up 13%. She challenged the young people to rise up, discover their purpose in life and to lead a life of justice, compassion and love. Those that got to hear her speak were fortunate to be in the presence of someone who led the way for all to follow.