I have been trying to think of what to say about the passing of Coretta Scott King
. I'm mostly still processing; I'm sure I'll have much more to say later, but I've been learning a few things. First, I have always focused on how difficult it must have been to be the spouse of someone who gave his life to a cause, but since her death I have learned that she was an activist when she and Martin Luther King met. I'd heard her say that she married a vision, not a man, but before King's death, I'd always imagined that the idea was simply that she knew she was marrying
an activist. What I've been sitting with this week is the challenge of recognizing what activism looks like when one is speaking / acting from the position of black lady
(or perhaps colored lady
). I've been thinking about this question in the context of my own creative work, but it is hitting me differently when I rethink King's life in the context of her own intentions, rather than in the context of her husband's work. Even the
writing of this post requires me to think about the politics of engaging with the lady as a political figure. Do I call her Mrs. in the title of this post? Isn't that what she went by? Didn't I call Paik Mr.? Is Mrs. equal to Mr. in this case? Why does it seem strange to call her by her last name only? What will it mean to resist the feeling that people will think I'm talking about Martin Luther King everytime I write "King" and don't preface it with Mrs.? Is it solipsistic to think of myself as I act these questions? I'll keep thinking about these questions. In the meantime, King, rest in peace.
“I’m more determined than ever that my husband’s dream will become a reality.”
-- Coretta Scott King, after the death of Martin Luther King