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Coretta Scott King PASS AWAY JANUARY.31.2006     








ATLANTA - Coretta Scott King, who turned a life shattered by her husband's

assassination into one devoted to enshrining his legacy of human rights and

equality, has died at the age of 78.

Flags at the King Center were lowered to half-staff Tuesday morning.

 "We appreciate the prayers and condolences from people across the country,"

the King family said in a statement. The family said she died during the night.

The widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. suffered a serious stroke and heart attack in 2005.

 "It's a bleak morning for me and for many people and yet it's a great morning

 because we have a chance to look at her and see what she did and who she was,"

poet Maya Angelou said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

 "It's bleak because I can't - many of us can't hear her sweet voice but it's great

 because she did live, and she was ours. I mean African-Americans and white

Americans and Asians, Spanish-speaking - she belonged to us and that's a great thing."

 Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, the civil rights activist who is close to

the King family, broke the news on NBC's "Today" show: "I understand that she

 was asleep last night and her daughter (Bernice King) went in to wake her up

 and she was not able to and so she quietly slipped away. Her spirit will

 remain with us just as her husband's has."

 She was a supportive lieutenant to her husband during the most tumultuous

days of the American civil rights movement, and after his assassination in

Memphis, Tenn., on April 4, 1968, she kept his dream alive while also raising their four children.

 "I'm more determined than ever that my husband's dream will become a

reality," King said soon after his slaying.

 She goaded and pulled for more than a decade to have her husband's birthday

 observed as a national holiday, first celebrated in 1986.

 King became a symbol, in her own right, of her husband's struggle for peace

 and brotherhood, presiding with a quiet, steady, stoic

 presence over seminars and conferences on global issues.

 "She was truly the first lady of the human rights movement," the Rev.

Al Sharpton said in a statement. "The only thing worse

than losing her is if we never had her."

King also wrote a book, "My Life with Martin Luther King Jr.," and,

in 1969 founded the multimillion-dollar Martin Luther King Jr. Center

for Nonviolent Social Change. She saw to it that the center became deeply

 involved with the issues she said breed violence - hunger, unemployment, voting rights and racism.

 "The center enables us to go out and struggle against the

 evils in our society," she often said.

 She became increasingly outspoken against businesses such as film

and television companies, video arcades, gun manufacturers and toy

makers she accused of promoting violence. She called for regulation of their advertising.

 After her stroke, King missed the annual King Holiday celebration in

Atlanta two weeks ago, but she did appear with her children at an awards

dinner a couple of days earlier, smiling from her wheelchair but not

 speaking. The crowd gave her a standing ovation.

 At the same time, the King Center's board of directors was considering

 selling the site to the National Park Service to let the family focus less

on grounds maintenance and more on King's message. Two of

 the four children were strongly against such a move.

 Coretta Scott was studying voice at the New England Conservatory

 of Music and planning on a singing career when a friend introduced her

to Martin Luther King, a young Baptist minister studying at Boston University.

 "She said she wanted me to meet a very promising young minister from

 Atlanta," King once said, adding with a laugh: "I wasn't interested in

meeting a young minister at that time."

 She recalled that on their first date he told her: "You know, you have

everything I ever wanted in a woman. We ought to get married someday."

 Eighteen months later - June 18, 1953 - they did, at her parents' home in Marion, Ala.

 The couple moved to Montgomery, Ala., where he became pastor of

 the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and organized the famed

Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. With that campaign, King began

enacting his philosophy of direct social action.

 Over the years, King was with her husband in his finest hours. She was

at his side as he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. She marched

 beside him from Selma, Ala., into Montgomery in 1965 for the

 triumphal climax to his drive for a voting rights law.

 Only days after his death, she flew to Memphis with three of her

children to lead thousands marching in honor of her slain husband

and to plead for his cause. "I think you rise to the occasion in a

crisis," she once said. "I think the Lord gives

 you strength when you need it. God was using us - and now he's using me, too."

 The King family, especially King and her father-in-law, Martin Luther King Sr.,

were highly visible in 1976 when former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter ran for president.

When an integration dispute at Carter's Plains church created a furor, King

 campaigned at Carter's side the next day. She later was named by

 Carter to serve as part of the U.S. delegation to the

United Nations, where the ambassador was Andrew Young.

 In 1997, she spoke out in favor of a push to grant a trial for James Earl Ray,

who pleaded guilty to killing her husband and then recanted.

 "Even if no new light is shed on the facts concerning my husband's assassination,

at least we and the nation can have the satisfaction of knowing that justice

has run its course in this tragedy," she told a judge.

 The trial never took place; Ray died in 1998.

 King was born April 27, 1927, in Perry County, Ala. Her father ran a country

store. To help her family during the Depression, young Coretta picked cotton.

 In 1994, King stepped down as head of the King Center, passing the job to son

Dexter, who in turn passed the job on to her other son, Martin III, in 2004. Dexter

 continued to serve as the center's chief operating officer. Martin III also has

served on the Fulton County (Ga.) commission and as president of the Southern

Christian Leadership Conference, co founded by his father in 1957. Daughter

 Yolanda became an actress and the youngest child, Bernice, became a Baptist minister.

 On the 25th anniversary of her husband's death, April 5, 1993, King said the

 war in Vietnam which her husband opposed "has been replaced by an

undeclared war on our central cities, a war being fought by gangs with guns for drugs."

 "The value of life in our cities has become as cheap as the price of a gun," she said.

 "In this country, we vigorously regulate the sale of medicine and severely

limit the advertising of cigarettes because of their effect on human health,"

 she said Jan. 15, 1994, the 65th anniversary of her husband's birth. "But we

 allow virtually anyone in America to buy a gun and virtually everyone

in the nation to see graphic violence."

 King received numerous honors for her self and traveled around the world in the process.

 In London, she stood in 1969 in the same carved pulpit in St. Paul's

 Cathedral where her husband preached five years earlier.

 "Many despair at all the evil and unrest and disorder in the world today,"

she preached, "but I see a new social order and I see the dawn of a new day."




Coretta Scott King PASS AWAY  JANUARY.31.2006.


Coretta Scott King, known first as the wife of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., then as his

widow, then as an avid proselytizer for his vision of racial peace and nonviolent social

change, died Monday at a hospital in Mexico. She was 78.The primary cause of death was "insufficient cardio-respiratory," which simply means her heart and breathing stopped, said Dr. Carlos Guerrero Tejada, who certified her death. The underlying causes were cerebral vascular disease and ovarian cancer, according to the death certificate.Mrs. King died at Hospital Santa Mónica in Rosarito, Mexico, about 16 miles south of San Diego. She was admitted to the hospital last Thursday, said her sister, Edythe Scott Bagley. Mrs. Bagley said Mrs. King's body would be returned to her home, Atlanta, for entombment next to her husband, whose crypt is at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center there. Mrs. King had been in failing health after a stroke and a heart attack last August. She appeared at a dinner honoring her husband on Jan. 14 but did not speak. Andrew Young, the former United Nations ambassador and longtime family friend, said at a news conference yesterday morning that Mrs. King died in her sleep. "She was a woman born to struggle," Mr. Young said, "and she has struggled and she has overcome." Mrs. King rose from rural poverty in Heiberger, Ala., and became an international symbol of the civil rights movement of the 1960's. She was an advocate for women's rights, the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, and other social and political issues. In 1952, she was studying music at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston when she met a young graduate student in philosophy, who, on their first date, told her: "The four things that I look for in a wife are character, personality, intelligence and beauty. And you have them all." A year later she and Dr. King, then a young minister from a prominent Atlanta family, were married, beginning a remarkable partnership that ended with Dr. King's assassination in Memphis on April 4, 1968. Mrs. King did not hesitate to pick up his mantle, marching before her husband was even buried at the head of the striking garbage workers he had gone to Memphis to champion. She went on to lead the effort for a national holiday in his honor and to found the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change in Atlanta, dedicated both to scholarship and to activism. In addition to dealing with her husband's death, which left her with four young children, Mrs. King faced other trials and controversies. She was at times viewed as chilly and aloof by others in the civil rights movement. The King Center was criticized as competing for funds and siphoning energy from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which Dr. King had helped found. In recent years, the center had been widely viewed as adrift, characterized by squabbling within the family and a focus more on Dr. King's legacy than on continuing his work. Many allies were baffled and hurt by her campaign to exonerate James Earl Ray, who in 1969 pleaded guilty to her husband's murder, and her contention that Ray did not commit the crime.More often, however, Mrs. King has been seen as an inspirational figure, a woman of enormous spiritual depth who came to personify the ideals Dr. King fought for."She'll be remembered as a strong woman whose grace and dignity held up the image of her husband as a man of peace, of racial justice, of fairness," said the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. King and then served as its president for 20 years. "I don't know that she was a civil rights leader in the truest sense, but she became a civil rights figure and a civil rights icon because of what she came to represent." Coretta Scott was born April 27, 1927, the second of three children born to Obadiah and Bernice Scott. She grew up in a two-room house that her father had built on land that had been owned by the family for three generations.The family was poor, and she grew up picking cotton in the hot fields of the segregated South or doing housework. But Mr. Scott hauled timber, owned a country store and worked as a barber. His wife drove a school bus, and the whole family helped raise hogs, cows, chickens and vegetables. So, by the standards of blacks in Alabama at the time, the family had both resources and ambitions beyond the reach of most others.Some of Coretta Scott's earliest insights into the injustice of segregation came as she walked to her one-room school house each day, watching buses of white children stir up dust as they passed. She got her first sense of the world beyond rural Alabama when she attended the Lincoln School, a private missionary institution in nearby Marion, where she studied piano and voice and had her first encounters with college-educated teachers and where she resolved to flee to a world far beyond rural, segregated Alabama.She graduated first in her high school class of 17 in 1945 and attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where, two years earlier, her older sister, Edythe, had been the first black to enroll. She studied education and music, and went on to the New England Conservatory of Music, hoping to become a classical singer. She worked as a mail order clerk and cleaned houses to augment a fellowship that barely paid her tuition.A First EncounterHer first encounter with the man who would become her husband did not begin auspiciously, as recounted in "Parting the Waters," by Taylor Branch. Dr. King, in the market for a wife, called her after getting her name from a friend and announced: "You know every Napoleon has his Waterloo," he said. "I'm like Napoleon. I'm at my Waterloo, and I'm on my knees."Ms. Scott, two years his elder, replied: "That's absurd. You don't even know me."Still, she agreed to meet for lunch the next day, only to be put off initially that he was not taller. But she was impressed by his erudition and confidence, and he saw in her the refined, intelligent woman that he was looking for in the wife of a preacher from one of Atlanta's most prominent ministerial families. When he proposed, she deliberated for six months before saying yes, and they were married in the garden of her parents' house on June 18, 1953. The 350 guests, big-city folks from Atlanta and rural neighbors from Alabama, made it the biggest wedding, white or black, the area had ever seen.Even before the wedding she made it clear she intended to remain her own woman. She stunned Dr. King's father, who presided over the wedding, by demanding that the promise to obey her husband be removed from the wedding vows. Reluctantly, he went along. After the wedding, the bridegroom fell asleep in the car while the new Mrs. King drove back to Atlanta. Mrs. King thought she was signing on for the ministry, not ground zero in the seismic cultural struggle that would soon shake the South. Her husband became minister of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery in 1954, but about a year later, the Montgomery Bus Boycott brought Dr. King to national attention. Then, like riders on a runaway freight train, the minister and his young wife found themselves in the middle of a movement that would transform the South and ripple through the nation. In 1960, the family moved back to Atlanta, where Dr. King shared the pulpit of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church with his father. With four young children to raise — Yolanda, born in 1955; Martin III, in 1957; Dexter, in 1961, and Bernice, in 1963 — and a movement dominated by men, Mrs. King, mostly remained away from the front lines of the movement. But the danger was always there, including a brush with death when Dr. King was stabbed while autographing books in Harlem in 1958.An Active RoleWhat role she would play was a source of some tension. Wanting to be there for their children, she also wanted to be active in the movement. Dr. King was, she has said, traditional in his view of women and balked at the notion she should be more conspicuous. "Martin was a very strong person, and in many ways had very traditional ideas about women," she told The New York Times Magazine in 1972. She added: "He'd say, 'I have no choice, I have to do this, but you haven't been called.' And I said, 'Can't you understand? You know I have an urge to serve just like you have.' " Still, he always described her as a partner in his mission, not just a supportive spouse. "I wish I could say, to satisfy my masculine ego, that I led her down this path," he said in a 1967 interview. "But I must say we went down together, because she was as actively involved and concerned when we met as she is now."She mostly carved out her own niche, most prominently through more than 30 Freedom Concerts, at which she lectured, read poetry and sang to raise awareness of and money for the civil rights movement.The division disappeared with Dr. King's assassination. Suddenly, she was not just a symbol of the nation's grief, but a woman devoted to carrying on her husband's work. How to do that was something that evolved over time. Marching in Memphis was a dramatic statement, but Ralph Abernathy, one of Dr. King's lieutenants, was chosen to take over. In stepping in for her husband after his death, Mrs. King at first used his own words as much as possible, as if her goal were simply to maintain his presence. But soon she developed her own language and her own causes. So, when she stood in for her husband at the Poor People's Campaign at the Lincoln Memorial on June 19, 1968, she spoke not just of his vision, but of hers, of gender as well as race. She called upon American women "to unite and form a solid block of women power to fight the three great evils of racism, poverty and war." She joined the board of directors of the National Organization for Women and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and she became widely identified with a broad array of international human rights issues, rather focusing primarily on race. That broad view, she would argue, was completely in keeping with Dr. King's vision. To carry on that legacy, she focused on two tasks. The first was to have a national holiday established in Dr. King's honor, and the second was to build the center in Atlanta to honor his memory, continue his work and provide a research facility for scholars of his work and the civil rights era.  The first goal was achieved, despite much opposition, in 1983, when Congress approved a measure designating the third Monday in January as a federal holiday in honor of Dr. King, who was born in Atlanta Jan. 15, 1929. President Ronald Reagan, who had long opposed the King Holiday as too expensive and inappropriate, signed the bill, but pointedly refrained from criticizing fellow Republicans like Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina, who had opposed Dr. King, saying he had consorted with Communists.  The holiday was first observed on Jan. 20, 1986 The second goal, much more expensive, time consuming and elusive, remains a work in progress — and a troubled one at that. When Mrs. King announced plans for a memorial in 1969, she envisioned a Lincolnesque tomb, an exhibition hall, the restoration of her husband's childhood home, institutes on nonviolent social change and Afro-American studies, a library building, an archives building and a museum of African-American life and culture. She envisioned a center that would be a haven for scholars and a training ground for advocates of nonviolent social change.  An Ambitious Struggle Even friends say it may have been too ambitious a goal. Building the center was a major achievement, but many of Dr. King's allies, particularly the leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said that it was draining scarce resources.  The center also struggled to find its mission. Critics worried that it had become a family enterprise, Dexter and Martin III vying for leadership. The problems became particularly acute after Mrs. King suffered a stroke and heart attack in August 2005. The brothers struggled for control over the center while she was recuperating.  Many supporters were saddened and baffled by the family's campaign on behalf of Mr. Ray, who confessed to killing Dr. King and then recanted. Mr. Ray was seeking a new trial when he died in 1998.  After Mr. Ray's death, Mrs. King issued a statement calling his death a tragedy for his family and for the nation and saying that a trial would have "produced new revelations about the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. as well as establish the facts concerning Mr. Ray's innocence."  Besides her four children and her sister, Edythe, of Cheyney, Pa., survivors include her brother, Obie Leonard Scott of Greensboro, Ala.  Mrs. King remained a beloved figure, often compared to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as a woman who overcame tragedy, held her family together, and became an inspirational presence around the world.  Admirers said she bore her special burden — being expected to carry on her husband's work and teachings — with a sense of spirit and purpose that made her more than a symbol.  If picking up Dr. King's mantle was an impossible task, the relationship she shared with him was truly a partnership. "I think on many points she educated me," Dr. King once said, and she never veered from the conviction, expressed throughout her life, that his

dream was also hers.  "I didn't learn my commitment from Martin," she told an interviewer. "We just converged at a certain time."

'Eclectic' Hospital with a 

Founder Prone to Legal Problems

 February 1, 2006


MEXICO CITY, Jan. 31 — The hospital in northwestern Mexico where Coretta Scott King died advertises itself as "a truly wholistic health center" where people can find "a very eclectic approach to the treatment of chronic diseases, diseases by and large considered incurable by the orthodox medical profession."The center, Hospital Santa Mónica, was founded in 1983 by Kurt W. Dons Bach, a chiropractor and nutritionist who has been in legal trouble with state and federal authorities in the United States going back to the 1970's, said Dr. Stephen Barrett of Allentown, Pa., who heads an organization called Quack watch.A man who picked up the telephone at the hospital on Tuesday would not answer questions from a reporter, nor would he give his name. "We have no comment," he said.The hospital is on Santa Mónica beach in Rosarito, a resort town a few miles south of Tijuana. On its Web site, the hospital says that "it feels more like a resort hotel than a hospital."The site includes a biography of Mr. Dons Bach that says he has "pioneered the use of hydrogen peroxide and ozone therapy in chronic degenerative diseases and is a leader in oxygen nutritional supplementation."Mr. Donsbach discusses accusations of quackery in a letter on the Web site."If a patient goes to an allopathic doctor for months or years and eventually is told, 'There is no more medicine can do for you,' and then that patient turns to an alternative practitioner who helps them and may even cure them — who is the quack?" he says in the letter. "Is the definition of quackery, one who practices a form of healing other than allopathic medicine? If this is so, I proudly proclaim myself a 'quack!' "The underlying causes of Mrs. King's death were listed as cerebral vascular disease and ovarian cancer, said Miguel Valdez, the head of the Civil Registry in Rosarito. Dr. Carlos Guerrero Tejada, who examined Mrs. King's body and signed her death certificate, works at another clinic, Hospital Santo Tomás that is connected with Hospital Santa Mónica. He defended the institution, saying Mr. Dons Bach’s techniques had helped many people with health problems deemed incurable. "Definitely it's a very good option for patients with chronic degenerative problems," Dr. Tejada said