History In Ink®  Historical Autographs




Coretta Scott King

Beautiful pensive photograph signed

by the American Civil Rights leader

Coretta Scott King, 1927–2006.  American Civil Rights leader.  Framed inscribed photograph, signed Coretta Scott King.

This is a magnificent black-and-white lithograph photo of Mrs. King, the widow of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, in a pensive pose.  She has boldly inscribed and signed the photo in silver paint pen.

Mrs. King, who held a degree in voice and piano from the New England Conservatory, became involved in the Civil Rights movement shortly after her marriage to Dr. King.  The Kings were married in 1953 and soon moved to Montgomery, Alabama, where Dr. King was appointed pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.  Montgomery became the focus of African-American protests for civil rights when, in 1955, Rosa Parks refused to relinquish her seat on a city bus to make room for white passengers.  Mrs. King explained:

Before long, we found ourselves in the middle of the Montgomery bus boycott, and Martin was elected leader of the protest movement.  As the boycott continued, I had a growing sense that I was involved in something so much greater than myself, something of profound historic importance.  I came to the realization that we had been thrust into the forefront of a movement to liberate oppressed people, not only in Montgomery but also throughout our country, and this movement had worldwide implications.  I felt blessed to have been called to be a part of such a noble and historic cause.

Despite Dr. King's preference that she remain at home to raise their children, Mrs. King took an active role in the Civil Rights movement.  She participated in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and sought to secure civil rights legislation.  She worked particularly hard to secure enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

Mrs. King became even more prominent after Dr. King's assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968.  She founded the Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta in 1968, and for years she worked to have Dr. King's birthday, January 15, declared a national holiday.  In 1986, Congress made Martin Luther King, Jr., Day a federal holiday.

When Mrs. King died in 2006, four American Presidents and one President-to-be—President George W. Bush, former Presidents Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter, and Senator Barack Obama—attended her funeral along with some 14,000 other people.

This photograph was removed from a book of portraits of prominent people.  Mrs. King wrote a three-line inscription and signed it with a silver paint pen in the dark portion at the lower right.  She started to inscribe it in the light area to the left of her image, where she wrote the word “To" beside the flower vase, but since there was inadequate contrast in the light area, she instead inscribed and signed it across her image.  The photograph shows a bit of handling at the right edge but overall is in fine condition.

This photograph has been richly double matted in black suede with an inlaid silver fillet and a silver tone engraved identification plate.  It is framed with conservation glass in a black wood frame to an overall size of 12" x 17¾".  It is an outstanding piece for any African-American or Civil Rights collection.

A History In Ink Framed Original.



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