02-19-2017  10:56 am      •     

Just last week, America honored, eulogized and laid to rest Coretta Scott King. In death as in life, she broke new barriers and drew the respect of an entire nation, becoming the first woman and the first African American to lay in repose in the rotunda of the Georgia Capitol. This honor was denied 37 years ago to her late husband, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Four U.S. Presidents, a poet laureate, countless dignitaries and artists extolled Mrs. King's courage and steadfast determination to continue the struggle for peace and racial equality initially first paved by the Rev. King. But it was the 155,000 people of all creeds, colors, races and religions who stood in the cold to pay their final respects to Mrs. King that truly reflected her legacy as the first lady of the civil rights movement.

First, we remember her as a woman whose dignity and strength during one of this nation's darkest hours came to personify the spirit of an entire people and a nonviolent movement. In 1968, the assassination of the Rev. King filled Black America with a sadness and frustration that turned to rage. Many of the nation's cities burned with the anger of injustice, inequity and poverty. Yet, the images of Mrs. King's quiet resolve to carry the mantle of nonviolence, equality and opportunity for every American turned her into an international icon for peace and freedom.

We also remember her days as a pillar of personal strength and support to the Rev. King and mother to four children at home and on the civil rights trail. We recall for the next four decades how she would continue in the struggle against racial injustice, establishing in 1986 a national holiday commemorating the Rev. King's work, creating the King Center in Atlanta and expanding the fight to women's rights, gay rights, religious freedom and, most recently, opposing the war in Iraq.

But we should not be surprised. Her power, intelligence and independence were apparent before, during and after her life with the Rev. King. Coretta Scott King had always been her own woman.

Born on April 27, 1927, she grew up poor in rural Alabama. Her family owned the local country store, but she and her siblings would help financially by picking cotton in the sweltering fields. Upon graduating first in her high school class, she was determined to escape the suffocating segregation of the South and left to study classical music and education at the New England Conservatory of Music.

Author Taylor Branch recounted in the King biography "Parting of the Waters" that Coretta Scott's first encounter with the Rev. King was not very auspicious. In fact, she later would deliberate for six months on his proposal of marriage before agreeing to become his wife. Prior to her wedding in 1953, Coretta stunned the Rev. King's father, a prominent Atlanta minister who would preside over the nuptials by demanding that the traditional promise to " obey her husband" be removed from the wedding vows. The Rev. King's father reluctantly obliged.

By 1955, she would be catapulted into destiny with the Rev. King as he was enlisted to lead the Montgomery Bus boycott. In a civil rights movement was dominated by men, Mrs. King was often seen hand-in-hand with her husband at protest marches.

But she wanted to play a more active role in the movement, despite the Rev. King's objections. In a 1967 interview the Rev. King stated, "I wish I could say … that I led her down this path, but I must say we went down together, because she was as actively involved and concerned when we met as she is now."

Mrs. King ultimately found her own voice upon the Rev. King's death in a speech at the Lincoln Memorial in June 1968. Mrs. King called upon American women "to unite and form a solid block of women power to fight the three great evils of racism, poverty and war."

Coretta Scott King's life remained one of purpose and service. She led an extraordinary life over the course of extraordinary times. She will be remembered as one of America's greatest gifts.

Marc H. Morial is president of the National Urban League.

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
    Read More
  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
    Read More
  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all
Carpentry Professionals


Reed College Jobs
His Eye is on the Sparrow