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THE NATION

Coretta Scott King is honored posthumously

January 14, 2007|From the Associated Press

ATLANTA — 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 the Rev. 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 soon after her husband's assassination in 1968.

King suffered a stroke and heart attack in August 2005, and battled ovarian cancer before she died Jan. 30, 2006, two weeks after the appearance.

"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.

Myrlie Evers-Williams, wife of the late civil rights activist Medgar Evers, 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 also was honored at the gala.

"This is the foundation of a history yet to be told in Atlanta," Franklin said of the collection -- also known as the King Papers.

The gala is one of a series of tributes to Coretta Scott King across the city, including the laying of a wreath at the crypt that now houses both Kings. The wreath laying is a tradition started by Coretta Scott King.

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