Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Share your thoughts...What would Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. say about the world today?

Share your comments on the very provocative question; What would Dr. King say about the world today. Are we heading toward his dream as a world. What about world peace? Black achievement? Intergration? Prejudice? Poor people? Our government? Share your comments and views!

The life of Coretta Scott King-The Queen for a King passes on

Coretta Scott King was born Coretta Scott on a farm in Heiberger, Perry County, Alabama to Obadiah and Bernice McMurry Scott. Though her family owned the land, it was often a hard life. All the children had to pick cotton during the Great Depression to help the family make ends meet.
Graduating from Lincoln Normal School in Marion, Alabama at the top of her class in 1945, Scott went to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. After graduation she attended the New England Conservatory in Boston, where she met Martin Luther King Jr.

Adult Life
The Kings were married on June 18, 1953 on the lawn of her parents' house; the ceremony was performed by King's father. After earning a degree in voice and violin at the New England Conservatory, she moved with her husband to Montgomery, Alabama in September 1954 after he was named pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.
The Kings had four children:
Yolanda Denise King (November 17, 1955, Montgomery, Alabama)
Martin Luther King III (October 23, 1957, Montgomery, Alabama)
Dexter Scott King (January 30, 1961, Atlanta, Georgia)
Bernice Albertine King (March 28, 1963, Atlanta, Georgia)
All four children later followed in their parents' footsteps as civil rights activists.
Coretta Scott King received honorary degrees from many institutions including Princeton University and Bates College. She was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, a noted African-American women's sorority.

Civil Rights Movement
Just two weeks after the birth of King's first child, Rosa Parks was arrested on a Montgomery bus, helping spark what would develop into the modern civil rights movement. King's husband soon emerged as a major leader of the movement. The struggles that followed included a narrow escape from death on January 30, 1956. King and her daughter were home when a bomb exploded at the family's residence; her husband was speaking at Rev. Ralph Abernathy's First Baptist Church at the time.

Freedom Concerts
King later put together a series of Freedom Concerts, which combined poetry, narration and music both to highlight the movement and to raise funds for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
In 1962, she served as a Women's Strike for Peace delegate to the 17-nation Disarmament Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. In addition, she preceded her husband by two years in opposing the Vietnam War, addressing a 1965 anti-war rally at Madison Square Garden in New York City, while also serving as a liaison to international peace and justice organizations.

Life after assassination of MLK

Martin Luther King Day

Coretta Scott King, along with Rosalynn Carter, Andrew Young, Jimmy Carter, and other civil rights leaders during a visit to Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, January 14, 1979.
Over the years, she was active in preserving the memory of her husband and in political issues. After her husband was assassinated in 1968, she began attending a commemorative service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta to mark her husband's birth every January 15 and fought for years to make it a national holiday, a quest that was realized in 1986, when the first Martin Luther King Day was celebrated.
Coretta Scott King attended the state funeral of Lyndon B. Johnson, in 1973, as a very close friend of the former president, himself a contributor to civil rights. She was also present when President Ronald Reagan signed legislation establishing Martin Luther King Day.

Opposition to Apartheid
During the 1980s, King reaffirmed her long-standing opposition to apartheid, participating in a series of sit-in protests in Washington, D.C. that prompted nationwide demonstrations against South African racial policies.
In 1986, she traveled to South Africa and met with Winnie Mandela, while her husband Nelson Mandela was still a political prisoner on Robben Island. She declined invitations from Pik Botha and moderate Zulu chief Buthelezi (as per [[2]]). Upon her return to the United States, she urged Reagan to approve sanctions against South Africa.

Other Issues

King and President George W. Bush
She was present at the first inauguration of George W. Bush in 2001.
King was vocal in her opposition to capital punishment and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, thus drawing criticism from conservative groups. She was also an advocate of women's rights, lesbian and gay rights and AIDS/HIV prevention. Her support for gay and lesbian rights, including same-sex marriage, sometimes put her in conflict with some members of her family including her daughter Bernice and her niece Alveda King.
King called her adoption of a vegan diet in 1995 a blessing. Her son, Dexter, had been vegan since 1988, saying that an appreciation for animal rights is the "logical extension" of his father's philosophy of non-violence. Dick Gregory and Richard Pryor made similar connections between the civil rights movement and animal issues.

Coretta Scott King Award
The Coretta Scott King Award, a medal presented by the American Library Association, is awarded to African American writers and illustrators for outstanding and inspirational educational contributions in children's literature.

The King Center
Established in 1968 by King, The King Center is the official memorial dedicated to the advancement of the legacy and ideas of Martin Luther King, Jr., leader of a nonviolent movement for justice, equality and peace. [3]

As the institutional guardian of Dr. King's legacy, the King Center, in collaboration with other organizations, focuses on the following areas:
The development and dissemination of programs that educate the world about Dr. King’s philosophy and methods of nonviolence, human relations, service to mankind, and related ideas;
Building a national and international network of organizations that, through sanctioned programs, promote, compliment, and help further the organization’s mission and objectives of building the Beloved Community that Dr. King envisioned
Functioning as the clearinghouse for non-profit organizations and government agencies which utilize Dr. King’s image and writings for programs and ensuring that the programs are historically and interpretively accurate;
Monitoring and reporting on the impact of Dr. King’s legacy on the world. [4]

Programs & Services
The King Center has a wide variety of programs and services in place to fulfill the organization's mission of building Dr. King's "Beloved Community." [5]
These programs and services include:
The Beloved Community Network
Nonviolence or Nonexistence Online Learning Program
Re-Ignite the Dream Campaign: Building the Beloved Community through Service
King and the Modern Civil Rights Museum Scholar and Historian Research Program
The King Papers Project
Education through Exploration Visitor Services Program
Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Service Summit

Final days
On August 16, 2005, King was hospitalized after suffering a stroke and a mild heart attack. Initially, she was unable to speak or move her right side. She was released from Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta on September 22, 2005, after regaining some of her speech and continued physiotherapy at home. Because of complications from the stroke, she was apparently unable to make her wishes known regarding the ongoing debate as to whether of the King Center would continue to operate independently or be sold to the National Park Service [6]. On January 14, 2006, Mrs. King made her last public appearance in Atlanta at a dinner honoring her husband's memory.

Mrs. King died in the late evening of January 30, 2006 [7] at a rehabilitation center in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, where she was undergoing holistic therapy for her stroke and advanced stage ovarian cancer. The King family maintains that King died on the night of January 30, 2006, the very same day Mahatma Gandhi died. The main cause of death is believed to be respiratory failure.[8]

Over 14,000 people gathered for King's six-hour funeral at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia on February 7, 2006 where daughter Bernice King is an elder. The megachurch whose sanctuary seats 10,000, was better able to handle the expected massive crowds than Ebenezer Baptist Church where King had been a member since the early 1960s up to her death and which was the site of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral in 1968. Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, their wives and numerous other political figures attended the service. In addition to the presidents, speakers included former FBI director William Sessions, chairwoman of the National Council of Negro Women Dorothy Height, poet Maya Angelou, Dr. Joseph Lowery, Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin, Attallah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X, Bishop T.D. Jakes and former Ambassador Andrew Young. Music was provided by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and vocalists Stevie Wonder, Michael Bolton, BeBe Winans and CeCe Winans. Bernice King delivered the final official eulogy with Dr. Robert Schuller providing the closing benediction.
Mrs. King will be buried in a temporary mausoleum on the grounds of the King Center until a permanent place next to her husband's remains can be built.[9] She had expressed to family members and others that she wanted her remains to lie next to her husband's at the King Center. However, the mausoleum there was only built for a single interment. [10]

President George W. Bush opened his State of the Union address the night of January 31 by paying tribute to her. On February 6, 2006, Bush issued a proclamation [11] flags to be flown at half staff throughout the day of King's interment, February 7.
King's body was returned to Atlanta, and carried through the streets on a horse-drawn carriage to the Georgia State Capitol as the crowd threw roses at the casket and a lone bagpiper played Amazing Grace; King became the first woman and black person to lie in state at the Capitol. (see [12]). King also layed at historic Ebenezer Baptist Church (where her husband was pastor).
The beginning of Super Bowl XL was marked by a moment of silence in memory of King and Rosa Parks.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force issued a press release honoring the memory of the Late Mrs. King. "Mrs. King worked tirelessly after her husband's death in 1968 to carry on his legacy of social justice activism. She was a steadfast ally in the struggle for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, and was honored by the Task Force in 1997 for her support of the cause. In addition, Mrs. King was a featured speaker at the Task Force's Creating Change 2000, where she rallied hundreds of activists gathered for the country's largest LGBT rights organizing conference. In 2003, her son, Martin Luther King Jr. III, was personally responsible for inviting Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman to join Mrs. King to speak from the podium at the 40th anniversary of the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington."
In 1997, upon receiving the Task Force's Honoring Our Allies award, Mrs. King told the crowd, "I accept this award as a reaffirmation of my commitment to carry forward the unfinished work of my husband, Martin Luther King Jr. My husband understood that all forms of discrimination and persecution were unjust and unacceptable for a great democracy. He believed that none of us could be free until all of us were free, that a person of conscience had no alternative but to defend the human rights of all people. I want to reaffirm my determination to secure the fullest protection of the law for all working people, regardless of their sexual orientation ... it is right, just and good for America."
Said Mandy Carter, executive director and a co-founder of the North Carolina-based group Southerners on New Ground, "I'll forever cherish the day that I and Matt Foreman, representing our lesbigaytrans community, got to stand shoulder to shoulder with her on August 23, 2003, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington," Carter continued. "The 1963 march was organized by Bayard Rustin, a black gay pacifist who was instrumental in introducing Dr. King to concepts of Ghandian nonviolence, the hallmark of the civil rights movement. Thank you so much Mrs. Coretta Scott King. You've left an amazing legacy." The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force mourns death of Coretta Scott King

Senate Resolution 362
Upon the news of her death, moments of reflection, remembrance, and mourning began around the world. In the United States Senate, Bill Frist presented Senate Resolution 362 on behalf all U.S. Senators, with the afternoon hours filled with respectful tributes throughout the U. S. Capitol. The Senate Resolution 362 as it appears in The Congressional Record can be found here.

House Resolution 655
On January 31, 2006 following a moment of silence in memoriam to the death of King, the United States House of Representatives presented House Resolution 655 in honor of Mrs. King's legacy. The remembrances that followed were both emotional and poignant. John Lewis (D-Georgia) stated:
I first met Mrs. King in 1957 when I was only 17. I was a student in Nashville, Tennessee. She was traveling around America, especially in cities of the South telling the story of the Montgomery movement through song. She was so beautiful, so inspiring, she would sing a little, and she would talk a little, and through her singing and talks she inspired an entire generation.
In an unusual action, the resolution included a grace period of five days in which further comments may be added to it. From: Greg Jones Singer/Songwriter of New Anthem for World Peace entitled God Bless The World-Not JUST America which is garnering accolades worldwide. Jones has recently launched 'Operation FREE Peacetone' where everyone can have the chorus of the Peace Anthem as a ringtone for FREE!