January 31, 2006

Coretta Scott King is dead: media

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Coretta Scott King, who surged to the
forefront of the fight for racial equality after her husband
Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in 1968, has died at age
78, U.S. media reported on Tuesday.

She had suffered a stroke and a heart attack in August.

Coretta Scott King played a major back-up role in the civil
rights movement until the death of her husband, Martin Luther
King, who was assassinated on a Memphis motel balcony on April
4, 1968, while supporting a sanitation workers strike.

Mrs. King, who was in Atlanta at the time, learned of her
husband's shooting in a telephone call from Rev. Jesse Jackson,
a call she later wrote, "I seemed subconsciously to have been
waiting for all of our lives."

As she recalled in her autobiography "My Life With Martin
Luther King Jr.," she felt she had to step fully into the civil
rights movement.

"Because his task was not finished, I felt that I must
rededicate myself to the completion of his work," she said.

Determined to make sure Americans did not forget her
husband or his dream of a color-blind society, she created a
memorial and a forum in the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for
Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta. The center has archives
containing more than 2,000 King speeches and is built around
the King crypt and its eternal flame.