Today is the 67th wedding anniversary of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King.
It all began as a chance meeting in Boston; where Martin was working on his Ph.D. at Boston University’s School of Theology, and asked his friend Mary Power, to assist him in finding a nice Christian woman. Miss Power had the perfect person in mind; Coretta Scott who was studying voice in the same city at the New England Conservatory of Music.
As history confirms in Mrs. King’s book, “My Life, My Love, My Legacy,” Ms. Power gave in to Dr. King’s requests and introduced the two smart young people. It was during their first phone call (not a cell phone) that Martin queried whether he could meet Miss Scott in person. While there were many questions, a little hesitation, and uncertainty by both parties, the two planned to meet for lunch. When Martin pulled up in his green Chevy that cold Thursday in January, “my first thoughts reaffirmed what I had anticipated: He was too short, and he didn’t look that impressive and seemed quite young.”
It was incredible how their love evolved in one setting filled with interesting and a thought provoking conversation when Coretta saw something deep within that she seemed to have initially overlooked, the real Martin Luther King, a man of substance and intelligence. A man with a commitment to his people and their freedom, there was much more to Martin than he first exposed.
It is said that Mrs. Coretta Scott King would later share that “it wasn’t exactly love at first sight, but we liked each other a great deal and we seemed to have a great deal in common.”
These two well educated, social, civil minded and extremely focused young people dared to imagine how they could live and work peacefully together in the midst of the trials, pain and constant adversity of the south.
One evening as he was driving her home, Martin turned to Coretta and told her, “You have everything I have ever wanted in a wife. There are only four things and you have them all.” What were those things? Character, intelligence, personality, and beauty. Coretta was both taken aback and flattered by his candor—it seemed he was in love at first sight, but he was also a man on a mission.
As they settled into their courtship, Coretta started regretting her initial assessment of Martin. “There was no question he was compassionate, held deep moral convictions, and sincerely wanted to change the conditions of the less fortunate,” she wrote in her book.
In December 1952, Martin and his parents agreed, the couple would properly announce their engagement around Easter in the Atlanta Daily World, the only black newspaper in Atlanta at the time.
They would then marry June 18, 1953, after school was finished for the summer, a mere 16 months after they met, Coretta and Martin were married by Pastor Martin Luther King Sr. on the lawn of Coretta’s parent’s home in Marion, Alabama.
Coretta wore a waltz-length gown with peep-toe sandals, and stood with Edythe, her sister as her Maid of Honor by her side. Martin, in a white jacket and black pants, had selected his older brother, A.D., as best man, and his niece, Alveda, as flower girl.
My source of pride is that Mrs. King, was this highly intelligent, socially conscious, beautiful woman committed to a life of service; stayed true to her commitment after the greatest loss of all.
In Baltimore, in the mid 1990’s my daughter and I had the distinct honor and pleasure of meeting Mrs. Coretta Scott King, seen here shaking Sandi’s hand. Mrs. King was gracious and actually took a few extra moments to learn more about my daughter and her future plans as someone captured this historical photo. Of course, I am off to the side with tears in my eyes as I memorialize the importance of this moment – I call them (MIP’s) memories in progress.
It is difficult to imagine the breadth and depth of Dr. and Mrs. Martin Luther King’s contributions and sacrifice for our people and this nation. They are truly the essence of a “Power Couple” filled with grace, love, and an extraordinary commitment to one another.