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Coretta Scott King

King, Coretta Scott, 1927–2006, American civil-rights leader, b. Heiberger, Ala.; the wife (1953–68) of Martin Luther King, Jr. After her husband's assassination, she carried on his civil-rights work. She also campaigned to have his birthday commemorated as a national holiday, which was first observed in 1986, and establihsed the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change in Atlanta. In the late 1990s she and other family members supported the unsuccessful efforts of James Earl Ray, the convicted assassin of her husband, to win a new trial, believing that Martin Luther King was the victim of a conspiracy that may have included members of the U.S. government. In 1999 she and her family brought and won a wrongful death suit against Loyd Jowers, who claimed to have arranged King's assassination for a Mafia figure. Many experts, however, were not convinced by the evidence presented during the trial. She wrote My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. (1969).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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