Cover image for My life, my love, my legacy
Title:
My life, my love, my legacy
ISBN:
9781627795982
Edition:
First edition.
Physical Description:
viii, 356 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents:
We don't have time to cry -- A sense of belonging -- I have something to offer -- A brave soldier -- Time itself was ready -- The winds of change -- I will never turn back -- Pushed to the breaking point -- I've been called by God, too -- So evil only God could change it -- I have a dream -- Heartbreak knocked, faith answered -- Securing the right to vote was a blood covenant -- Moral concerns know no geographic boundary -- I don't want you to grieve for me -- With a prayer in my heart, I could greet the morning -- My fifth child -- We must learn to disagree without being disagreeable -- Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere -- Happy birthday, Martin -- Our children -- I will count it all joy -- Afterwords / by Andrew Young, Maya Angelou, Patricia Latimore, Congressman John Conyers, Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Myrlie Evers-Williams -- My mother, my mentor / by Dr. Bernice A. King -- The making of her memoir / by Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds.
Added Author:
Summary:
"The life story of Coretta Scott King--wife of Martin Luther King Jr., founder of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and singular twentieth-century American civil rights activist--as told fully for the first time, toward the end of her life, to one of her closest friends. Born in 1927 to daringly enterprising black parents in the Deep South, Coretta Scott had always felt called to a special purpose. One of the first black scholarship students recruited to Antioch College, a committed pacifist, and a civil rights activist, she was an avowed feminist--a graduate student determined to pursue her own career--when she met Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister insistent that his wife stay home with the children. But in love and devoted to shared Christian beliefs and racial justice goals, she married King, and events promptly thrust her into a maelstrom of history throughout which she was a strategic partner, a standard bearer, a marcher, a negotiator, and a crucial fundraiser in support of world-changing achievements. As a widow and single mother of four, while butting heads with the all-male African American leadership of the times, she championed gay rights and AIDS awareness, founded the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, lobbied for fifteen years to help pass a bill establishing the US national holiday in honor of her slain husband, and was a powerful international presence, serving as a UN ambassador and playing a key role in Nelson Mandela's election. Coretta's is a love story, a family saga, and the memoir of an independent-minded black woman in twentieth-century America, a brave leader who stood committed, proud, forgiving, nonviolent, and hopeful in the face of terrorism and violent hatred every single day of her life."--Provided by publisher.
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Summary

Summary

Named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR
The New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
The Washington Post 's Books to Read in 2017
USA Today , "New and Noteworthy"
Read it Forward, Favorite Reads of January 2017
A Parade Magazine Pick

"This book is distinctly Coretta 's story . . . particularly absorbing. . . generous, in a manner that is unfashionable in our culture." -- New York Times Book Review

"Eloquent . . . inspirational"-- USA Today

The life story of Coretta Scott King--wife of Martin Luther King Jr., founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), and singular twentieth-century American civil and human rights activist--as told fully for the first time, toward the end of her life, to Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds.

Born in 1927 to daringly enterprising parents in the Deep South, Coretta Scott had always felt called to a special purpose. While enrolled as one of the first black scholarship students recruited to Antioch College, she became politically and socially active and committed to the peace movement. As a graduate student at the New England Conservatory of Music, determined to pursue her own career as a concert singer, she met Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister insistent that his wife stayhome with the children. But in love and devoted to shared Christian beliefs as well as shared racial and economic justice goals, she married Dr. King, and events promptly thrust her into a maelstrom of history throughout which she was a strategic partner, a standard bearer, and so much more.

As a widow and single mother of four, she worked tirelessly to found and develop The King Center as a citadel for world peace, lobbied for fifteen years for the US national holiday in honor of her husband, championed for women's, workers' and gay rights and was a powerful international voice for nonviolence, freedom and human dignity.

Coretta's is a love story, a family saga, and the memoir of an extraordinary black woman in twentieth-century America, a brave leader who, in the face of terrorism and violent hatred, stood committed, proud, forgiving, nonviolent, and hopeful every day of her life.


Author Notes

Writer and civil rights activist Coretta Scott King was born in Heiberger, Alabama, on April 27, 1927. She studied music at Antioch College and the New England Conservatory of Music. She married Martin Luther King, Jr. on June 18, 1953. Coretta Scott King taught and did fundraising for the civil rights movement. When her husband was killed in April, 1968, she took a more active role as a civil rights leader, beginning with her speech on Solidarity Day, June 19, 1968.

King has devoted time to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, where she has served as president and chief executive officer. She also established the Coretta Scott King Award in conjunction with the American Library Association to honor outstanding and inspirational contributions by an African American author and an African American illustrator. She published her memoir, My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1969. She died on January 31, 2006 at the age of 78.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Reynolds (Out of Hell and Living Well), an ordained minister who was a confidante of Coretta Scott King (1927-2006) since 1975, has produced from their many conversations together a posthumous memoir largely focused on King's public life. There are few intimate glimpses, although a wife and mother's anxieties come through strongly, as they did in King's 1969 memoir, My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. The present work includes an array of afterwords (from her daughter Bernice, Maya Angelou, and others) and Reynolds's postscript, "The Making of Her Memoir." It begins by revisiting King's life story and her part in historical events from the Montgomery Bus Boycott to her husband's assassination. The book's latter part traces King's political activism and spiritual commitment since Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, and the roles of their children, Yolanda, Bernice, Martin III, and Dexter, in sustaining his legacy. Overall, though some political disagreements are mentioned, this is a spiritual narrative with God as a frequent directing presence. Readers for whom the Civil Rights Movement is ancient history may get a lot out of Reynolds's rendering of King's account. As oral history, aspects will interest academic historians. "In reading this memoir, I hope somehow you see Coretta," King confides in her introduction. One does, but without the vibrancy, immediacy, and clarity one might hope for. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* King and journalist Reynolds met in 1975, forming a firm friendship during which Reynolds interviewed the wife of Martin Luther King Jr. many times. Eventually, their conversations coalesced into a formal agreement for Reynolds to assist the civil rights icon in writing a first-person memoir. The result is wholly focused on King's life and contains intimate thoughts about her childhood, marriage, and professional aspirations. King is remarkably candid as she addresses rumors of her husband's infidelity, her frustrations with the often sexist attitudes of the movement's leaders, and the immense pressure she felt standing at the center of history. King also shares her struggle to balance the needs of her family with her own often overlooked music career. (I love being your wife and the mother of your children, she recounts telling Martin. But if that's all I am to do, I'll go crazy.) King was undoubtedly a singular woman, and readers will be struck by just how strongly her exceedingly compelling story resonates today. She was much more than just the woman behind the man, and now, in the most eloquent of language, she proves that truth once and for all to generations of readers who will embrace her all over again.--Mondor, Colleen Copyright 2016 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

NEARLY every image of Coretta Scott King since her husband's death has seemed suffused with preternatural stillness, her face fixed with the brave solitude of timeless interior bereavement. For all of her accomplishment and vivacity in real life, she has remained frozen in the collective imagination, among that sad pantheon of civil-rights-era icons: the political widow in a pillbox hat. King describes the weight of that identity in "My Life, My Love, My Legacy," her posthumous memoir, as told to the journalist Barbara Reynolds over a period of 30 years , "There is a Mrs. King. There is also Coretta. How one became detached from the other remains a mystery to me," King says. This book is distinctly Coretta's story. While there is nothing to radically challenge the impression of her as carefully restrained, what makes "My Life" particularly absorbing is its quiet account of a brutal historical era, as experienced by a very particular kind of African-American woman : well educated, cautious, a prototypically 1950s-style wife and mother. The book's cover features a picture of King, young and smiling, but still radiating that unmistakable aura of church-lady reserve. Though such women have rarely been given voice, they were the staunch backbone of the civil rights movement. They raised funds as well as children, did the accounting as well as the housework, taught school and cooked the meals. They kept the minutes at N.A.A.C.P. meetings, played the organ at church, coordinated their husbands' schedules. Like Coretta Scott King, they operated within a regime that was both punishing and exhausting for being so utterly beholden to the politics of respectability. The pressure to disprove pervasive cultural stereotypes of slovenliness, ignorance, criminal threat and rapacious sexuality meant striving for perfection always. One could not risk being charged with the slightest human fallibility for fear of deadly retribution. The harshly unforgiving surveillance of the larger white community was reiterated within black communities as the stress of constant, and sometimes cruel, self-surveillance. Living with terror is the thread that runs through "My Life." This is a tale of church assaults before Dylann Roof, of cattle prods before there were tasers, of nooses before there were chokeholds, of Cointelpro before there was Breitbart, of voter suppression before anyone bothered to deny it. King's earliest memories include her parents' home being burned down when she was 15 years old. As she grows up, neighbors disappear. Bodies are found hanging from trees. Among the in-laws, her husband's mother was shot and killed in the middle of a church service by a mentally disturbed man; his brother was found floating in a pool under suspicious circumstances; and when his father, Martin Luther King Sr., passes away at the age of 84, it marked "the first time any senior member of the King family had died a natural death." Some say that religion is, at base, a mechanism to handle the human response to mortality and loss. And for all the death and tragedy in "My Life," it is King's grounding in her husband's theology of peaceful resistance that enables her survival against excruciating odds. Nonviolence, she reiterates, is not a matter of passively accepting whatever happens. It is active. It is a practice. As her husband preached: "Justice is really love in calculation." that power, of love as calculation, composes King, binds her together, time and again. Her practice of such belief is meditative, and becomes reflected in her diction: She speaks of endurance, overcoming, soul-sustenance for the long term. There is little in the way of open sadness in this book; after her husband's assassination, she turns to the project of creating the King Center as a monument to him, filling the emptiness with boxes of his notes and speeches. By the same token, there is a marked absence of expressed joy, other than at the birth of her children. Her emotions are muted in a way that is intriguing rather than off-putting. This disposition also presents the reader with a different way of looking at the world - one of extraordinary calm and the purest resolve. It is restful somehow, and generous, in a manner that is unfashionable in our culture of 24/7 emotional display. King's language does not privilege personal happiness, private delights, exuberant emotional extremes of any sort. Rather, her life is filtered through prescribed priorities, devotions, principles, commitments. This is life lived in service to others rather than with concern for individual regard or even personal safety. There is unusual inspiration in that mien. Before becoming King's amanuensis, Barbara Reynolds was a journalist assigned to do a story for The Chicago Tribune. They became such good friends that Reynolds changed her vocation along the way: "Before I started hanging around with Mrs. King, I wasn't much of a Christian." But hang around she did, and by the time King died in 2006, Reynolds had become an ordained minister. It is but one small tribute to the power of the King family's dedication to a "Ministry of Presence." The larger, more ecumenical meaning of Coretta Scott King's life, love and legacy may be found in the peace-lending power, needed now as never before, of prophetic traditions that hold us and heal, "bringing into existence images and a destiny we had not seen or lived before." ? A brutal era as experienced by a very particular kind of African-American woman. PATRICIA J. WILLIAMS is the James L. Dohr professor of law at Columbia University and a columnist for The Nation.


Kirkus Review

A posthumous memoir by Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow, told via a journalist, minister, and longtime friend.In an afterward, Reynolds, a journalist and friend to Coretta Scott King (1927-2006) and a former USA Today editorial board member, offers the "making of her memoir," which required many recorded interviews since her first article about King for the Chicago Tribune in 1975, with their formal contract signed in 1997. Overall, the tone is as gracious, elegant, and soft-spoken as the legendary Southern lady and concert singer, who was born in the deeply segregated town of Heiberger, Alabama, where her black family was regularly terrorized by whites, including the burning of her house when she was 15 years old. Resilient and fearless due to the example of her harassed father, King was inculcated in the Mount Tabor AME Zion church, where her grandfathers were leaders. Attending the Lincoln missionary school, she found her "escape route" from the South in multicultural Antioch College (Ohio), then followed her passion for classical music to the New England Conservatory, in Boston, where she met the "too short" and unprepossessing minister from Atlanta, MLK Jr. Coretta wanted to be a concert singer and live comfortably in the North, while Martin wanted her to be his wife and have children and move to Montgomery to fight desegregation with nonviolence. Eventually, she came around to embrace his ideals. While her memoir is very much her own journey, it is also about her collaboration with her husband, and she insists they both had a calling by God: "God appeared to have appointed Martin and meto become the messengers." The author does not countenance rumors that her husband was unfaithful, insisting that the FBI planted evidence as a smear campaign. In the end, her four children and her "fifth child," the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, in Atlanta, remain her greatest legacies.A touching memoir from an important figure in the civil rights movement. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal Review

An autobiography of King, as told at the end of her life to writer and ordained minister Reynolds. (LJ 12/16) © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.