I decided to contribute to this last Sunday in Black History month with this post about a woman who featured prominently in our society up until her passing in 2006. This woman is none other than Coretta Scott King who walked bravely beside her husband, Martin Luther King. In the midst of their civil rights activities, Mrs. King found the time to juggle housework and babies while her husband spent time pursuing his dream of equality for the black race. And in addition to performing her role as wife and mother, Mrs. King also took part in protest rallies, spoke to scores of people and protected her children from a bomb or two.
Coretta King gave up the bright lights of a singing career to become the wife of a Baptist minister in 1953. She later gave birth to four children. Early in the marriage she worked alongside her husband, or it was more like marched, traveled abroad with him and spoke on his behalf when he was unable to do so. Coretta survived Martin Luther King by four decades, and determined that the work he began would live on, she gave herself no time to mourn. Just four days after his death she led a march through the streets of Memphis, and attended the Poor People’s March in Washington later that year.
Over the years, Coretta King continued to work tirelessly in her husband’s memory, establishing the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia, and achieving the goal of having her husband’s birthday honored as a public holiday in Jan. 1986. She continued to travel the globe, preaching the gospel of equality and became a goodwill ambassador and advisor to world leaders, including Nelson Mandela.
Like most wives of men in the limelight, Coretta had to put up with the scores of women who admired and followed her husband. Despite rumors of infidelity on Martin Luther’s part, Coretta “stood by her man” and did not allow those rumors to affect their relationship.
As women we can learn from Mrs. King's example of loyalty, devotion and courage. Whether we are married to a world leader or a subordinate, those qualities can be the "wind beneath our mate's wings." God calls us to no less.