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Coretta Scott King, My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. 1969.


Taking a look at King's time in Boston, this lesson focuses on his encounter and courtship with Coretta Scott. In 1951 King left the South to pursue a doctorate in theology at the Boston University. Away from his family and his father's influence, King continued developing his own identity as a preacher and intellectual. During this time, King met Coretta Scott, who like King, was pursuing a degree at Boston's New England Conservatory of Music. Despite his father's initial skepticism, Martin decided to marry Coretta. The wedding took place at the Scott family home near Marion, Alabama, on June 18th, 1953.
While Coretta and Martin pursued higher education in Boston, fundamental changes in the educational system took place in the rest of the country. Young activists and students protested against inequalities of segregated schools, challenging the prevailing system and demanding equality and educational opportunities. On April 23rd, 1951, sixteen-year-old Barbara Rose Johns, a student at Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia, organized an assembly at her school. She encouraged her fellow students to participate in an attendance strike to draw attention to the inequities between their school and the local white school. In addition to the strike, Johns and the Moton high school students appealed to the NAACP, which agreed to help them: the Moton strike became a lawsuit. This lawsuit was combined with other desegregation cases as part of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, which became the most significant and successful legal case to end segregation in schools. 


Primary Sources: 
Document A: Martin Luther King, Jr. "To Coretta Scott." July 1952
Document B: Excerpt from: Coretta Scott King, My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. 1969
Document B: Excerpt from: Martin Luther King, Sr. Daddy King - An Autobiography. 1980. 

King Encyclopedia

Boston University 
Coretta Scott
Brown et al., v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas

Lesson Plans (LP) and Lesson Activities (LA):

LP: Voices of the Struggle: The Continual Struggle for Justice
LA: Brown v. Board of Education


Chapter 4: Boston University 
Chapter 5: Coretta 
In: Clayborne Carson (ed), The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. 2001.  

Clayborne Carson, Emma J. Lapsansky-Werner, Gary B. Nash. The Struggle for Freedom. The Modern Era, Since 1930. Pearson, 2019.  
Chapter 17: Emergence of a Mass Movement against Jim Crow, pp. 380-389.

  • Barbara Johns Leads a Student Strike
  • 17.1 The Road to Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
  • 17.1.1 The Attack on "Separate But Equal"
  • 17.1.2 The NAACP's School Desegregation Suits
  • 17.1.3 The Brown Decision
  • 17.1.4 Building on the Brown Breakthrough

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