Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Work Of Peace-Making Must Continue Until the Last Gun Is Silent: Coretta Scott King Remembered

I came home from work today fully intending to sit down and diligently read about the history of the American west, but discovered that while I'd been out, there was a major media EVENT.
You KNOW what I'm talking about: Coretta Scott King at center stage. First there was the funeral, the speech, the standing ovation, and now, the Republican pissing and moaning, and the leftie response. (that one has a link to other speeches as well).
I think, given the uproar from others, who may not have known that Mrs. King gave her gay male secretary leave to go protest at homophobic crackerbarrel restaurants, that it's worth hearing from Coretta Scott King herself and to some people who actually knew her well. (links below include audio of speeches and articles about King)

Here she is about the Vietnam war. First she's speaking at anti-Vietnam war rally following her husband's death in 1968, and again at anti-war rally on International Women's Day in 1971:

"The work of peace-making must continue until the last gun is silent"

..."The war is an enemy of the American people."

Here's what she has to say about gay rights and gay marriage:

I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice... But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King, Jr., said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere'.... I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people

Here are some recent reminiscences about King from her close friends, some audio clips of speeches and interviews, including references to her ongoing activism and opposition to the Iraq war. Here's what she said on the eve of the invasion in 2003:
"I believe that more people are thinking about him and yearning to hear his voice because of concerns about terrorism and the buildup of war," ... "When you use war as a way of settling disputes, you only cause more war,"..... "In the long run, the only way to have peace is to use peaceful means."

And here she is on the relationship between the "personal" and the "political":

I married Martin Luther King Jr. because I came to love him after I met him, but I also married the cause that we both shared and the commitment, and so that made it possible when he was no longer here for me to continue because I understood what Martin Luther King stood for... and I felt that Martin himself was the noble example of what human beings could achieve, and I was hoping that we could raise up younger generations of people who would follow in Martin Luther King Jr's principles of non-violence and methods to bring about social change and to create the beloved community that he envisioned.

Now, tell me if you think she wouldn't have enjoyed those political speeches given at the celebration of her life and work.


Anonymous said...

Here's a commentary about how Bush "Squirmed in his seat" when speakers at the funeral spoke truth to power!

Anonymous said...

Dr. King specifically, and his whole generation of Black preachers, had years & years in which to give the eulogies of Civil Rights martyrs. Those were not apolitical funerals. Daddy King before him eulogized a lynching victim. Three generations of ministers after him have presided at the funerals of too many young Black men & women whose violent deaths happened in political contexts. Grief as a strictly private expression belongs to people of privilege. When white people in front of their TVs are confronted by keening Arab women scratching their faces till they bleed, they "squirm in their seats" on the couch, just as Bush did. If a life was political, or if a death was, the funeral should be, too. You have to be pretty dense not to get it.