June 19, 2010

(Coretta Scott King - Solidarity Day 1968 - A weighty mantle to maintain)

Forty-Two years ago to the day, June 19, 1968 had been designated Solidarity Day, the culminating event from the Poor People's March on Washington with over 50,000 gathered at the Mall to hear Coretta Scott King deliver an address originally slated to be given by her husband Dr. Martin Luther King. With the assassination of Dr. King in April, the march had been planned as early as October 1967 and was determined to go on. The Poor People's March had taken place some months before and Resurrection City was slowly falling apart by late June. Mrs. King was unable to find a suitable replacement for her late husband, having been declined by entertainer Josephine Baker due to her previous commitment. So the responsibility came down to Mrs. King herself to deliver the address. By her own admission, she was not the firebrand activist her husband was, but with America still shaken from the loss of its most eloquent conscience, Coretta Scott King had no other choice but to deliver the address.

Coretta Scott King: “We the women must lead the way and adopt non-violence as a way of life. We must teach our children the non-violent way, so as to stop the chain of violence which is spiraling in our society. The first step is to recognize the power of love.. It is the answer to all of the problems which mankind faces. Love is the key to understanding. Love is the only force that can destroy hate.”

The Civil Rights Movement was destined to go on despite the obstacles and loss. Coretta Scott King became its guiding heart.

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