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Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King Marriage Profile

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American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 - 1968) and his wife Coretta are greeted by Ralph J. Bunche (1904 - 1971), United Nations Under-Secretary, at the United Nations, New York City, New York, Dec. 04, 1964. Authenticated News / Staf/Archive Photos/Getty Images

What You Can Learn From the Marriage of Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King:

Marriages in the spotlight often have to deal with lack of privacy, long periods of separation, gender issues, and temptation. The marriage of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King was no different.

Here's information about how Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott met, their wedding, children, and more.

Born:

Martin Luther King Jr: January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Coretta Scott: April 27, 1927 in Heiberger, Alabama.

 

Died:

Martin: Martin was killed on April 4, 1968 at 6:01 PM in Memphis, Tennessee by an assassin, while King was standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.

Coretta: Recovering from a paralyzing stroke on August 16, 2005 Coretta died in her sleep at the age of 78 on January 31, 2006 from stroke complications.

Coretta died at Hospital Santa Monica, a wholistic health center closed on 2/3/06 for not having proper authorization and located in Playa Santa Monica, Rosarito Beach, Baja California, Mexico.

 

How Martin and Coretta Met:

A friend, Mary Powell, introduced them in 1/1952 in Boston on the phone.

Coretta, about meeting Martin: "...he was looking for a wife. I wasn't looking for a husband, but he was a wonderful human being...I still resisted his overtures, but after he persisted, I had to pray about it...I had a dream, and in that dream, I was made to feel that I should allow myself to be open and stop fighting the relationship. That's what I did, and of course the rest is history. "
Source: US Liberals

 

Wedding Date:

Martin and Coretta were married on June 18, 1953 on the lawn of her parents' home in Marion, Alabama. Martin's father, the Reverend King, Sr., performed the wedding ceremony.

Mrs. Edythe Bagley, Coretta's sister, was maid of honor. Reverend A.D. King, Martin's brother, was best man.

Children:

Martin and Coretta had four children.
  • Yolanda "Yoki" Denise King: Born November 17, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama. Yolanda was a motivational speaker, actress, producer, and author. She died on May 15, 2007 at the age of 51 in Santa Monica, California.

  • Martin Luther III: Born on October 23, 1957 in Montgomery, Alabama.

 

 

  • Dexter Scott King: Born on January 30, 1961 in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • Bernice Albertine King: Born on March 28, 1963 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Occupations:

Martin co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the SCLC, in 1957. A preacher, author, and speaker, he received the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.

Coretta was committed to Martin's work in furthering nonviolent social change.

Previous Marriages:

None. However, while at Crozer Seminary, Martin fell in love with a Caucasian woman.

 

 

They talked about marriage, but after being warned of the difficulties of an interracial relationship and the possible negative impact on his career, they ended the relationship. King was described as a "man of a broken heart--he never recovered."
Source: "Bearing the Cross", by David Garrow, pages 40-41, and Gale Group

Residence:

Atlanta, Georgia.

 

Martin's Alleged Extramarital Affairs:

Since 1989, when Reverend Ralph Abernathy wrote about Martin's adulterous relationships, the question of whether or not Martin Luther King, Jr. was unfaithful to his wife or not is still being debated.

A year before he died, Martin allegedly revealed a longstanding affair to Coretta. However, Coretta stated that she and Martin "never had one single serious discussion about either of us being involved with another person."
Source: "I May Not Get There With You", by Michael Dyson, p. 216.

 

 

King described his affairs as "a form of anxiety reduction." Martin said, "I’m away from home twenty-five to twenty-seven days a month."

Three relationships were more than one-night stands, and Martin grew especially close to one woman. The "relationship, rather than his marriage, increasingly became the emotional centerpiece of King's life, but it did not eliminate the incidental couplings that were a commonplace of King's travels."
Source: "Bearing the Cross", by David Garrow, p. 375.

 

 

Ralph Abernathy: "Martin and I were away more often than we were at home; and while this was no excuse for extramarital relations, it was a reason. Some men are better able to bear such deprivations than others, though all of us in SCLC headquarters had our weak moments. We all understood and believed in the biblical prohibition against sex outside of marriage. It was just that he had a particularly difficult time with that temptation.
Source: "And the Walls Came Tumbling Down" and Snopes

 

More Quotes About the Marriage of Martin and Coretta Scott King:

Martin, about their first date: "So you can do something else besides sing? You've got a good mind also. You have everything I ever wanted in a woman. We ought to get married someday."
Source: Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Coretta, about their arguments: "When we get in an argument, usually he just stops talking."
Source: "I May Not Get There With You", by Michael Dyson, p. 216.

Martin, about Coretta: "I am indebted to my wife Coretta, without whose love, sacrifices, and loyalty neither life nor work would bring fulfillment. She has given me words of consolation when I needed them and a well-ordered home where Christian love is a reality."
Source: Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Michael Dyson, about their roles in marriage: "King was in constant conflict with his wife about her role. She wanted to become much more involved in the movement; he wanted her to stay home and raise their children." Source: "I May Not Get There With You", by Michael Dyson, p. 195.

Martin's advice in Ebony, placing the responsibility for an affair on a wife's shoulders: "When a woman asked what to do about her husband's extramarital affair, King told her to think of what the other woman might have to offer that she did not. What faults of her own might make her husband look elsewhere? "Do you nag?" King asked her."
Source: "Bearing the Cross" by David Garrow, p. 104

Books:

Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., And The Southern Christian Leadership Conference
by David Garrow
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The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr.: From "Solo" to Memphis
by David J. Garrow
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I May Not Get There with You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Michael Eric Dyson
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And the Walls Came Tumbling Down
by Ralph Abernathy
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My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Coretta Scott King
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