Archive for Sunday, January 14, 2007

Atlanta gala honors Coretta Scott King

January 14, 2007

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— It's been a year since Coretta Scott King received thunderous applause when she surprised guests at the annual Salute to Greatness Dinner and appeared on stage, smiling and waving with her children.

On Saturday, guests again applauded the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., as she was honored posthumously for her human rights contributions and work to preserve her husband's legacy in the decades after his death.

The event is the primary fundraiser for The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, which Coretta Scott King founded in the basement of the couple's home shortly after her husband's death in 1968.

King suffered a stroke and heart attack in August 2005 and battled ovarian cancer before she died in January 2006.

"The loss of this amazing and gallant woman was devastating for the nation and the King Center family," said her nephew, Isaac Newton Farris Jr. - who now leads the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

Civil rights widow Myrlie Evers-Williams joined Andrew Young, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and the King children in paying tribute to the civil rights matriarch.

"She was a woman that we know lives on in our hearts, minds and deeds," Evers-Williams told the audience. "Coretta Scott King ... was a queen. Let us reach out and embrace her."

The coalition, led by Franklin, that helped secure the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection last summer was also honored at the gala.

Recorded tributes from Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Maya Angelou were also played during the dinner.

"She could so easily have been satisfied to have been the spouse ... of one of the greatest human beings to walk the planet Earth but, no," Tutu said. "She was a giant in her own right and so many of us are so much the better for being touched by her."

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