Today is a holiday in the United States that honors Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights leader who dedicated his adult life to ending racial inequality. Dr. King focused his work on the racial divide in the United States, but his wise words have universal application. You don’t have to be an American to appreciate the profound wisdom of a statement like, “The time is always right to do what is right.”
Martin Luther King Jr. died April 4, 1968 at the tragically young age of 39, shot by an assassin at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. The federal holiday that commemorates his life and legacy was created during President Ronald Reagan’s first term in office and formally assigned to the third Monday in January in 1992 under President George H.W. Bush.
As we do on most holidays, we’ve prepared a thematically appropriate quiz. Past Martin Luther King Jr. Day quizzes have focused on Dr. King himself. Today, however, we have chosen to honor the legacy of the late Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther’s wife and the mother of their four children, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 78.
Among Coretta Scott King’s many accomplishments, she was a tireless advocate for the establishment of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a national holiday. She also founded The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta the year that her husband was assassinated and served for decades as president and CEO.
On the 86th anniversary of her birth a hybrid tea rose was named in her honor.
This year’s shift in focus was inspired by the Kings’ daughter and youngest child (of four), Bernice, who tweeted about her famous parents this morning that, “As you honor my father today, please remember and honor my mother, as well.” Message received.
NOTE: To view last year’s quiz, click here.
1) Who supervised the home birth of Coretta Scott on April 27, 1927?
2) Where did Coretta Scott attend college?
3) While a student, Coretta Scott worked as a babysitter to what well-known film, television, and theater star?
4) How did music student Coretta Scott first meet up with Martin Luther King Jr?
5) Which newspaper carried an announcement of the engagement and pending June wedding between Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King Jr.?
6) Who was with Coretta Scott King when the Kings’ home was bombed on Jan. 30, 1956?
7) Where did Coretta Scott King first give a vocal performance in support of the American civil rights movement?
8) Just months after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, Coretta Scott King gave a speech specifically calling on women to join together and fight which three great evils?
9) In addition to the academic degrees she earned on her own, how many honorary doctorates was Coretta Scott King awarded by colleges and universities?
10) Which of the following actresses has NOT portrayed Coretta Scott King on film or television?
A) Cicely Tyson
B) Carmen Ejogo
C) Ruby Dee
D) Angela Bassett
1) Coretta Scott’s paternal great-grandmother, Delia Scott, a midwife and a former slave, was on hand as the infant Coretta entered the world as the third of four children of Obadiah Scott and Bernice McMurry Scott.
2) King earned bachelor’s degrees from both Antioch College (in Ohio) and the New England Conservatory of Music.
3) John Lithgow. The Emmy- and Tony-winning actor was appearing on Broadway in 1974 when he encountered Coretta Scott King for the first time since childhood. She reminded him of their prior connection.
4) A mutual friend, Mary Powell, gave Coretta’s phone number to Martin Luther, who called the future Mrs. King to arrange an in-person meeting.
5) The happy couple announced their engagement and marriage plans in the Atlanta Daily World on Feb. 14, 1953.
6) Coretta was at home with Yolanda, the Kings’ eldest (and only, at the time) child, and Mary Lucy Williams when an unknown assailant tossed a bomb onto the front porch of the house. Coretta and Mary hurried to the rear of the home. None of the three were injured in the subsequent explosion.
7) A committed partner with her husband in the fight for racial equality and civil rights, Coretta Scott King both sang and spoke at Manhattan Center in New York City on Dec. 5, 1956, as part of the “Salute to Montgomery” concert.
8) Racism, poverty, and war. In the first months after Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, Coretta Scott King frequently filled in for her husband at events where he had been scheduled to speak.
9) According to The King Center, Coretta Scott King was given more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees by colleges and universities.
10) Ruby Dee. One of the last performances Dee gave prior to her death in 2014 was as narrator of the HBO movie Betty and Coretta, but Angela Bassett played Coretta Scott King in that film. Cicely Tyson appeared as Coretta Scott King in the 1978 miniseries King, while Carmen Ejogo has played Coretta Scott King twice, first in the 2001 film Boycott, and then again in the 2014 film Selma.