Anna Buckley/HelloGiggles, Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Anna Buckley
January 15, 2018 8:00 am

Known to many as the “First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement,” Coretta Scott King was born in Alabama in 1927. She met Martin Luther King, Jr. while attending the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. (She was a soprano.)

Their courtship often involved conversations about politics and race, and Coretta reportedly told her sister that she liked King because he reminded her of their father. They married in 1953.

To fully dedicate herself to the cause, and to her husband’s leading of the cause, she gave up her dreams of becoming a famous singer.

Anna Buckley/HelloGiggles, Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Following Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination in 1968, Coretta Scott King took on leadership within the movement for racial equality. She also got involved with the women’s movement.

She once said:

Coretta Scott King also founded the King Center, and is the reason that today (and every Martin Luther King Jr. Day) is a national holiday. Ronald Reagan signed the legislation which established this day in 1983, and the first holiday was officially observed three years later.

Coretta would later fight against apartheid, as well as advocate for LGBT rights. She passed away in 2006, but her legacy, as well as her husband’s, still lives on today.

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