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review 2017-05-05 15:25
What a Wonderful Legacy
My Life, My Love, My Legacy - Coretta Scott King

I have to say that this book was very eye-opening to me. I did not know about half the things that Mrs. King goes into with this memoir. I say it was very much like reading a history book in which you already know the names, places, and people, but it feels like you were there. I will say that the shifting timelines through me a bit here and there though. I like to read memoirs in a linear format since jumping around back and forth can be confusing. Also, some parts of this memoir at times felt unfinished. I wanted to go back and ask a question which of course I can't do.

 

"My Life, My Love, My Legacy" is Coretta Scott King's memoir. It talks about her childhood, her marriage to Martin Luther King, Jr., and all of her efforts to keep preaching his beliefs about non-violence being the way forward for African Americans in the United States. She also provides details into her friendships with some very powerful leaders in their own right (Indira Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Betty Shabazz, and Myrlie Evers-Williams). 

 

I think the book is a bit slow to start. When Coretta Scott King begins her tale of her childhood and her parents it definitely holds your attention. But I think that it ended up a bit garbled here and there just because of the time-line jumping. I also wish that we had heard more about her family throughout the book. We hear about her parents earlier on, but don't go back to them much until the very end of the book. 

 

From there we go into Mrs. King's affinity for music. I honestly had no idea that she was an accomplished singer and had gone to school to train to become a classical singer. I also have to say it was eye-opening to read about her thoughts and feelings about the Civil Rights movement. It seems even now many of us don't know much about the women involved with the movement beyond Rosa Parks. I was surprised to see how heavily Coretta Scott King and other women were involved. 

I also have to applaud her candor talking about how chauvinistic the Baptists were with regards to women leaders. She is upfront about it and also upfront about the sad fact that other countries in the world had elected women to the highest levels of government, yet the United States was (and still is) lacking in the regard. 

 

I also love her for confronting the rumors of her husband's infidelity. I had heard a little here and there about J. Edgar Hoover's hatred of Dr. King, but when you read this book and read all of the things he got up to. Yeah...I am good with still not being a fan of that man. 

 

Though the book jumps around, it does hit upon some dates of importance in the civil rights movement in the United States. We get to her Mrs. King's thoughts on women and African American men and women running for office, apartheid, and even her comments on whether James Earl Ray acted alone. Can I say though, I had no idea there was even a trial looking into the government's involvement in the assassination of Martin Luther King. When you read what Mrs. King presents I just shook my head. I can sadly believe it. 

 

I also loved reading about her thoughts and opinions about other leaders she met like President Johnson, Carter, Nixon, Bush Sr., Kennedy, etc. I also felt for her for having to learn a lesson about publicly endorsing a presidential candidate at all due to some people taking it the wrong way and or being angry that she wasn't doing what they thought she should do.


And reading about the struggles to get the King Center up and running and the break that she had with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and her thoughts on Reverend Jesse Jackson.

 

I loved reading this book since it reminded me of listening to an older aunt that just wants to give you some hard lessons about life and how one must go on even when you don't know if in the end you are going to be able to get to where you need to go.

 

The book then ends a bit abruptly and then goes into afterwords written by close friends of Mrs. King such as Maya Angelou, her daughter, and others. Some of these I found to be quite moving. She definitely touched a lot of people and I can't imagine the strength she had to go on and keep doing what she believed while also raising her children and dealing with being the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King. She astutely points out that she and the widows of other famous civil rights leaders at the time (Betty Shabazz and Myrlie Evers-Williams) had to deal with so many people's opinions about what they should do and how to act. 

 

I do have to say that reading this book showed me definitely how far the United States has come as a country that seemed apathetic to the concept of civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s. However, it definitely shows me how much further we still have to go. 

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text 2017-05-04 20:38
Reading progress update: I've read 33%.
My Life, My Love, My Legacy - Coretta Scott King

All caught up!!

 

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

 

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

 

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

 

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

 

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

 

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

 

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

 

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

 

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

 

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

 

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

 

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

 

I have a dream today.

 

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

 

I have a dream today.

 

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

 

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

 

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

 

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

 

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

 

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

 

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

 

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

 

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

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text 2017-05-04 20:36
Reading progress update: I've read 31%.
My Life, My Love, My Legacy - Coretta Scott King

Recounting the beginnings of the march on Washington and "I Have a Dream". I do love Coretta Scott King calling out the leadership at the time for the chauvinism they had and not allowing women civil rights activists to give a speech. 

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text 2017-05-04 20:31
Reading progress update: I've read 26%.
My Life, My Love, My Legacy - Coretta Scott King

 

I remember that a lot of my relatives mentioned this when I was growing up. They liked JFK for the simple fact that he intervened for Dr. Martin Luther King and for many of them that is what shifted them from voting Republican to Democrats. I always think it's funny that for many blacks they were not here for the Catholics at all, but decided that after this, they can't all be bad. 

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text 2017-05-04 20:25
Reading progress update: I've read 22%.
My Life, My Love, My Legacy - Coretta Scott King

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