2006-02-02 / Top Stories

Local Pols Remember First Lady Of Civil Rights Movement

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©wclaytong Brooklyn Congressman Ed Towns issued the following statement Tuesday regarding the news of the passing of civil rights leader, Coretta Scott King.

On behalf of the residents of the 10th Congressional District of New York, as well as the Towns family, I want to extend sincere condolences to the family of Coretta Scott King.

As we mourn the death of Mrs. King, we also celebrate her life and legacy.

Coretta Scott King, wife of civil rights leader, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was most known as the great woman behind the man. However, she was an activist in her own right. She led rallies for civil rights before meeting Dr. King and when Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, four days later Mrs. King led a march of 50,000 people through the city of Memphis.

A wife and mother of four children, she balanced motherhood and the Civil Rights Movement. Although her family was often threatened with death, Mrs. King was courageous and her commitment to human rights and equality was unwavering. After Dr. King’s death, she founded the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta and led the fight for Dr. King’s birthday to become a national holiday.

Mrs. King, living an exemplary life and one of great sacrifice, was the embodiment of dignity and grace and although her shoes are difficult to fill, they must be filled.

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued the following statement:

Every New Yorker who believes in the principles of equality mourns the passing of Coretta Scott King - a courageous woman who devoted her life to making those principles a reality for all people.

Together with her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., they changed our nation - and the world - forever.

On behalf of the people of our City, I extend our deepest condolences to all the members of her family.

Throughout her life, Mrs. King held great faith in the power of peace, and endured deep sorrow with great dignity. She now rejoins her husband and goes to the peace she so richly deserves.

In recent months, we've lost many of the giants of the Civil Rights movement: Rosa Parks, Ossie Davis, Kenneth Clark, Judge Constance Baker Motley, and, now, Coretta Scott King. The most fitting way to remember them is to rededicate ourselves to finishing the cause that they so nobly advanced.

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State Assemblyman Nick Perry issued the following remarks after Mrs. King’s passing:

Today, with much grief and sadness Americans from all walks of life, join with the King family as we mourn the loss of the matriach of the civil rights movement, Coretta Scott King.

Although best known as the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mrs. King was a staunch fighter for equal rights even before she met her husband in college. While her place in history may be overshadowed by the prominence of her distinguished husband, her accomplishments without Dr. King by her side were certainly outstanding and created for her a legacy worthy of our praise and reflection.

Following her husband’s assassination in 1968, Mrs. King worked tirelessly to keep De. King’s dream alive. Her humanitarian efforts and travels to South Africa in the 1980’s helped to expose the horrific practice of apartheid. Coretta Scott King’s substantial personal involvement in the campaign to free South Africa, and her plea to then President Reagan to approve sanctions against the South African government added to the developing momentum to remove the oppressive regime in South Africa.

On behalf of my constituents, my family and myself, I offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to the King family, as we mourn the passing of this phenomenal woman who now joins her great husband and their ancestors in eternal rest.”

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Borough President Mary Markowitz said:

“Brooklyn mourns the loss of Coretta Scott King.

After her husband’s assassination, Mrs. King traveled the world championing freedom and speaking out for racial and economic justice, women’s and children’s rights, and the needs of the poor.

In Brooklyn, we are thankful to be guided by the spirit, compassion and community of Mrs. King and her husband. Theirs is a march Brooklynites continue to lead today and we will do so in the years to come.

Over 20 years ago, Mrs. King gave me permission to use her husband’s name for my annual concert series in Wingate Field. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Concert Series continues to inspire and entertain thousands of Brooklynites. Because in Brooklyn, we don’t seek to create unity out of diversity, we celebrate diversity within our unity and that’s how we keep the dream alive.”

See more tributes to Mrs. King on Page 40.

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