Coretta Scott King (April 27, 1927 – January 30, 2006) was an American author, activist, civil rights leader, and the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr. Coretta Scott King helped lead the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. She was an active advocate for African-American equality. King met her husband while attending graduate school in Boston. They both became increasingly active in the American Civil Rights Movement. She was also an accomplished singer, and often incorporated music into her civil rights work.
King played a prominent role in the years after her husband's assassination in 1968 when she took on the leadership of the struggle for racial equality herself and became active in the Women's Movement. King founded the King Center and sought to make his birthday a national holiday. She finally succeeded when Ronald Reagan signed legislation which established Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on November 2, 1983. She later broadened her scope to include both opposition to apartheid and advocacy for LGBT rights. King became friends with many politicians before and after Martin Luther King's death, most notably John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Robert F. Kennedy. Her telephone conversation with John F. Kennedy during the 1960 presidential election has been credited by historians for mobilizing African-American voters.
Death and illness Edit
By the end of her 77th year, Coretta began experiencing health problems. Her husband's former secretary, Dora McDonald, assisted her part-time in this period. Hospitalized in April 2005, a month after speaking in Selma at the 40th anniversary of the Selma Voting Rights Movement, she was diagnosed with a heart condition and was discharged on her 78th and final birthday. Later, she suffered several small strokes. On August 16, 2005, she was hospitalized after suffering a stroke and a mild heart attack. Initially, she was unable to speak or move her right side. King's daughter Bernice reported that she had been able to move her leg on Sunday, August 21 while her other daughter and oldest child Yolanda asserted that the family expected her to fully recover. She was released from Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta on September 22, 2005, after regaining some of her speech and continued physiotherapy at home. Due to continuing health problems, Mrs. King canceled a number of speaking and traveling engagements throughout the remainder of 2005. On January 14, 2006, Coretta made her last public appearance in Atlanta at a dinner honoring her husband's memory. On January 26, 2006, King checked into a rehabilitation center in Rosarito Beach, Mexico under a different name. Doctors did not learn her real identity until her medical records arrived the next day, and did not begin treatment due to her condition.
Coretta Scott King died on the late evening of January 30, 2006, at the rehabilitation center in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, In the Oasis Hospital where she was undergoing holistic therapy for her stroke and advanced-stage ovarian cancer. The main cause of her death is believed to be respiratory failure due to complications from ovarian cancer. The clinic at which she died was called the Hospital Santa Monica, but was licensed as Clinica Santo Tomas. After reports indicated that it was not legally licensed to "perform surgery, take X-rays, perform laboratory work or run an internal pharmacy, all of which it was doing," as well as reports of it being operated by highly controversial medical figure Kurt Donsbach, it was shut down by medical commissioner Dr. Francisco Versa. King's body was flown from Mexico to Atlanta on February 1, 2006.