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Coretta Scott King

Tribute by WCC general secretary Samuel Kobia

01 February 2006

"Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

Coretta Scott King was an extraordinary woman who lived an extraordinary life during an extraordinary time. A devoted wife and mother, she was also a gifted musician, a dedicated human rights activist and leader in the movement for non-violent social change in her own right.

As the wife of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King was often seen at Dr King's side in marches and demonstrations across the nation. As Dr King's wife, she endured the threats to her family and herself with him. Few will ever forget the picture of her veiled silhouette at Dr King's funeral, with her daughter in her lap.

But after Dr King's assassination, Mrs King became a leader in the movement for non-violent social change, insisting that Dr King's legacy not be forgotten and setting up the King Center for Non-Violent Social Change in Atlanta. She spoke around the world about the power of non-violence to confront racism and other oppressions. She spoke out on behalf of women and the poor not only in the US, but in the world. She worked tirelessly to see that Dr King's birthday be named a national holiday in the US and then insisted that it not be seen as a day off from work, but rather as a day of service, honouring a man whose life was dedicated to service.

Mrs King was a wise woman, whose wisdom was often sought after by the world's leaders as well as civil and human rights activists, and, of course, by her family and friends. She was a devoted Christian, who lived a life of faith and devotion to "doing justice, loving kindness and walking humbly with God." The world is a better place because Coretta Scott King lived and because she led. She leaves a great legacy and a challenge for us all to work for an end of violence and hatred in our world.

With all good wishes and prayers,

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia