Coretta: The Story of Coretta Scott King, by Octavia Vivian


Four stars, read in March 2012.

I wrote this review back then, on my old blog, and have meant to repost it here. Now the timing is even more perfect, not just because of Black History Month, but because her name is in the news since Elizabeth Warren was punished for reading her words against Jeff Sessions. (Her words are fantastic, by the way: “Anyone who has used the power of his office as United States Attorney to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens should not be elevated to our courts. Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters. For this reprehensible conduct, he should not be rewarded with a federal judgeship.”)

I loved learning about Coretta. Didn’t think the writing was fantastic, and was disappointed with how much of “her” story was actually about Martin (but tried to reconcile that with the fact that, well, her husband was Martin Luther King, Jr. and obviously that was pretty significant in her life). I was pleased to find mentions toward the end about civil rights not just being her husband’s cause, how she claimed it as her cause before she ever met him, and she continued working for decades after he died.

She was also the first woman to preach a statutory service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London (though I don’t know what a statutory service is, and it was surprisingly difficult to get a sense of it from Google). I also tried to find a better photo online but couldn’t, so this is the crappy one I snapped with my phone while I was reading, because I just think that is really cool.


She was a champion of all human rights, including those of gay people, the poor, women, and other minorities. She was anti-war and anti-violence. I don’t think I’ve ever read of someone who was so involved in so many different spheres, and I’m sad now to learn that she only died seven years ago, but I didn’t know anything about her while she was alive. She was a powerful, inspirational woman who spent her life fighting for herself and others.

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