Martin Luther King March
Coretta Scott King walked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., on the history-making Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March. A marker memorializes it near the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. Photo contributed by reader Delia Rae Saldivar.

Coretta Scott King, Civil Rights Activist and MLK Widow

This adventure stop honors the memory of Coretta Scott King (1927-2006), who is the namesake of the prestigious Coretta Scott King Award for children’s books. We found the list of these award-winning books in the name of that award at the American Library Association website: Additionally, she was the author of My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr., published in 1969.

Though best known as the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., Mrs. King was an admirable and high achieving person in her own right. Read a summary of her life story here: As a young woman, she attended the extremely competitive New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where she studied voice and violin. During this time in her life in Boston, she eventually met her husband-to-be.

After marrying and moving to Alabama, the Kings worked together for social change, championing the civil rights issues of the 1960s, an effort she, along with their children, stridently continued for decades after his death. She “founded the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and later successfully lobbied for his birthday to recognized as a federal holiday.” –

Today, Martin Luther King, Jr. remains the only non-president for which the US has an official national holiday.

Church, Home, and Memorial

Mrs. King’s church, home, and a bronze statue of her likeness are at the Birthplace, Wedding Location, and Memorial in the small town of Heiberger.

This page’s “Personalize It” activity is a clip of Coretta Scott King talking about her rural childhood. A list of movies connected to the life and times of the Kings can be found at

Also see our page about the King Center in Georgia at Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is the fourth stop on the Alabama Author Adventures Trail.

Patricia Smart