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The mother of civil rights

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most noteworthy civil rights leaders known around the world. During his crusade for racial equality, he had a strong ally that shared his burning desire for equal rights, his wife, Coretta Scott King. Mrs. King played a big role in the civil rights movement after Dr. King's death on April 4, 1968. She was often called the "Mother of Civil Rights."

Coretta Scott Smith James was born on April 27, 1927, in Heiberger, Ala., to Obadiah and Bernice Scott. Mrs. King showed a strong desire to succeed in life despite the societal obstacles of segregation. She was valedictorian of her high school class, obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in music and another degree in voice and violin.
Mrs. King fought for many causes to include desegregation, women's rights and the opposition of apartheid in South Africa. Her hard-work and actions paid off as she eventually came to co-chair the National Committee for Full Employment and the Full Employment Action Council; a coalition comprised of over 100 organizations that promoted employment and equal economic opportunity.

To honor her late husband, Mrs. King successfully encouraged congress to institute Dr. King's birthday as a national holiday, the inaugural celebration took place in 1986 and is celebrated by over 100 countries. In addition to establishing the holiday she also founded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. The King Center was established as the official memorial committed to the progression of ideas and the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. The main objective of The King Center is to, "educate the world on the life, legacy and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to inspire new generations to carry forward his unfinished work."

Like her husband, Mrs. King continued to serve the cause of justice and human rights up until her passing in 2006 at the age of 78. To this day she remains an inspirational figure to all people around the world and she truly is the mother of civil rights.