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My Life, My Love, My Legacy

Length: 14 hrs and 20 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (142 ratings)
Regular price: $27.99
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Publisher's Summary

The life story of Coretta Scott King - wife of Martin Luther King Jr., founder of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and singular 20th-century American civil rights activist - as told fully for the first time, toward the end of her life, to one of her closest friends.

Born in 1927 to daringly enterprising black parents in the Deep South, Coretta Scott had always felt called to a special purpose. One of the first black scholarship students recruited to Antioch College, a committed pacifist, and a civil rights activist, she was an avowed feminist - a graduate student determined to pursue her own career - when she met Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister insistent that his wife stay home with the children. But in love and devoted to shared Christian beliefs and racial justice goals, she married King, and events promptly thrust her into a maelstrom of history throughout which she was a strategic partner, a standard bearer, a marcher, a negotiator, and a crucial fund-raiser in support of world-changing achievements.

As a widow and single mother of four, while butting heads with the all-male African American leadership of the times, she championed gay rights and AIDS awareness, founded the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, lobbied for 15 years to help pass a bill establishing the US national holiday in honor of her slain husband, and was a powerful international presence, serving as a UN ambassador and playing a key role in Nelson Mandela's election.

Coretta's is a love story, a family saga, and the memoir of an independent-minded black woman in 20th-century America, a brave leader who stood committed, proud, forgiving, nonviolent, and hopeful in the face of terrorism and violent hatred every single day of her life. This program includes archival recordings of Coretta Scott King and is read by Phylicia Rashad and January LaVoy.

Phylicia Rashad is an actress, singer, and stage director. She is known for roles in television shows such as Empire and Psych and as Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Her voice-over credits include spots in The Cleveland Show, Little Bill, and Sofia the First. Rashad has also appeared in such films as For Colored Girls, Good Deeds, and Creed.

©2017 Estate of Coretta Scott King (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Phylicia Rashad narrates the bulk of this audiobook with January LaVoy, and both do a superb job. Rashad's insistent voice and gentle tone reflect both the strength and quiet dignity that characterized King's life." ( AudioFile)

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 01-30-17

Inspirational memoir

This is a posthumous memoir of Coretta Scott King (1927-2006). Apparently, King narrated the memoir to Rev. Barbara Reynolds in 2006 along with some interviews. Reynolds was a longtime friend of King. The book covers her life from birth to death.

King tells of the racial hatred she had to endure growing up in Alabama, the whites burning her family home when she was a child, and racial discrimination throughout most of her life. She tells of her life with MLK, the bombing of their home on January 30, 1956 with her and her children inside. She also tells of MLK’s assassination and her years after his death. King also tells of her aspiration for a musical career and her scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music. The book reveals Coretta as a person out from the shadows of her famous husband.
Coretta Scott King was the first African-American to lie in State in the Georgia State Capitol upon her death.
I enjoyed reading the memoir of a most remarkable woman.

LaVoy and Rashad did a good job narrating the book. January LaVoy is a Broadway actor, voice-over artist and audiobook narrator. Phylicia Rashad is and actress and audiobook narrator.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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My Life, My Love, My Legacy

This book educated me so much. I could not put it down. I felt as if I really new each family member and other characters. I learned so much about Mrs. King and Dr. Kings' childhood, marriage, family and public life. I truly believe that the King family was called by God.
I am extremely happy that I purchased this book through audible. Listening, allowed me to really HEAR!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Loved

I absolutely love the baby! Grateful to hear her story. She was open, honest and refreshing

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A greater appreciation for Mrs. Coretta Scott King

This is a great book on the Life, Love and Legacy of Mrs. Coretta Scott King. I am from Atlanta, GA and have met Mrs. King several times. However, this book showed me a more in-dept and intimate portrait of Mrs. King. Mrs. King always displayed a quiet and noble strength. And the book shows that throughout. I love how she adored her husband, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and how she was determined to make sure his legacy would continue to live on. Further, I greatly admire how she was a strong, protective parent towards her four (4) children, especially after the loss of her husband. She protected them in the shadow of the King legacy, yet she allowed each to find their inner voice and inner strength after the loss of their father. This book also goes into detail of how long, the many huddles, oppositions it took for her to get the King holiday established in January as a national holiday. She was determined to get it done and make his holiday recognized and honor nationally by all 50 states. Finally, the book expresses how Dr. Martin King, Jr was not only called by God for a divine purpose, but also, Mrs. King had a divine calling, assignment placed on her life to follow and to be fulfilled. We are indebted to Mrs. King’s lifework for making sure her husband’s legacy and her dedicated work after his/her death will be remembered eternally and continue to live on. I am glad I listen to her book. I gained so much from it. After reading, one will have a greater appreciation toward Mrs. Coretta Scott King.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Important, Moving, Educational, Entertaining

Before, during and after the assassination of her husband. The story of her life and the legacy she left behind in her husband's name, for her children, for all of us. She was a power house. You will walk away with new knowledge and a new perspective. Thank you CSK, thank you, thank your husband and thank your children for the love and sacrifice you all gave to the world. Read this book, listen to this book, suggest it to your friends and family. The narrators did more than justice for the story, of course the didnt sound like Coretta Scott King but you quickly forget that as you become totally immersed in the story of this civil rights leaders life. They did an amazing job, so much so that you will be seeking out other books they've narrated. I had the pleasure of listening to this just weeks prior to my first visit to Sweet Auburn, the Freedom Center and the Tomb and Reflecting Pool inATL where Coretta Scott King and MLK jr. now spend eternity for generations to come to view and learn about civil liberties and nonviolence. Bravo B. Reynolds, you took the life of a strong and powerful woman an important one to be shared and gave us the gift of reading/hearing it. Read/listen this book you wont regret it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Inspiring

This book was absolutely inspiring and should be required in history courses. I would listen to many more hours if it were possible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Janet
  • Pittsburgh, PA, United States
  • 01-25-17

An incredible inspiration

As I was listening to this book, Donald Trump was inaugurated and the following day women all over the world put on pink knit caps and demonstrated. A certain singer made a profanity laced speech and said she wanted to blow up the White House. No matter what your political views are, both Martin Luther King Jr, and Coretta Scott King would have been appalled by today's behavior. They achieved world wide change and they did it by marching and speech making and pointing out difficult but absolute truths. They did this with integrity and dignity. They did not back down even as many men, women and children were gassed, beaten, blown up, jailed, had fire hoses and police dogs turned on them, and were assassinated. But they were never violent, vulgar, they never spoke "alternative truths". This book is well written, the narrator is excellent. I was 9 years old when MLK was assassinated and I vividly remember watching these events unfold.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Both Mrs King and Coretta

There were two main reasons I picked up this memoir. First, I read/heard/saw somewhere an excerpt of My Life, My Love, My Legacy that included a section about Martin Luther King Jr not allowing Coretta to meet JFK after the March on Washington. A march that did not include any women in significant roles other than music during the program. I cannot remember what pointed this out to me, but that was why I picked up the book in the first place.

The second reason that moved the book up on my reading list is because because I was told that My Life, My Love, My Legacy directly addresses the rumors of Martin Luther King, Jr’s womanizing and affairs. Part of how she addresses this is by building the case, that is well documented outside of this book, that J Edgar Hoover was attempting to smear King, that he tapped personal and private phones and attempted to discredit King to both political leaders like JFK and to the public. She says that JFK personally took MLK on a walk outside the White House in the gardens so that he could warn MLK about Hoover. (RFK separately also warned MLK about Hoover.) Coretta believed that warning MLK outside was to prevent Hoover from hearing about the warning from bugs in the White House. Also there were several other sources in press and law enforcement that warned MLK and those around him that he was going to be specifically targeted using affairs as a way to discredit him. Coretta says that these warnings were all before there was any hint of affairs in the press.

I am not prepared to say that there was not ever an affair, Coretta Scott King would certainly not be the first wife who’s husband had an affair and she did not know about it. But I do think that the common knowledge that ‘everyone knows’ MLK had affairs should be tempered. Much of the evidence from what I can tell has been from FBI reports, which are known to have been disreputable. As far as I know, there is only one woman, Georgia Davis Powers, that has ever come forward saying that she had an affair with King, although she also denied the affair in other places. And from his circle of friends and supporters, the only person that I know that asserted that King had affairs was Ralph Abernathy, who Coretta Scott King here suggests was jealous of King and his position and may not have been truthful in his reports about the affairs. And some of the specific allegations about sex parties and orgies that Abernathy reports were disputed by other aides that would have been present. The disagreements with Abernathy continue throughout the book.

The other factor that I still frequent hear from detractors from King’s legacy are those that suggest that King was not really a Christian, primarily pointing to papers as a young college student, while ignoring significant contrary evidence from later in his life. For many I am not sure what proof that you could give that would convince them, but My Life, My Love, My Legacy does strongly assert his faith and the role of prayer and seeking after God played in their work as a couple.

In some ways the middle section (after MLK’s death and before the later section about her kids) feels like a political memoir. Mrs King deserves significant credit for keeping MLK’s legacy alive. At his death he was very unpopular, among African Americans as well as Whites. His movement into anti-war and anti-poverty platforms, not just issues of segregation and voting rights alienated some conservative wings of the Black Community. His commitment to non-violence and reconciliation alienated more progressive wings that were were focused on Black Power and the acceptance of violence in self defense. Most Whites at the time of his death disapproved of both the tactics and the message. But his death meant that he could be loved, while his message was sanitized. Coretta made sure that the less popular aspects of his work did not disappear, continuing his Memphis rallies days after his death and leading antiwar protests within a couple weeks of his death. You can still go to the King Center to be trained in non-violent protest methods.

These chapters felt like they were the type of recitation of issues that many other politician’s memoirs seem to focus on. Coretta Scott King may not have been a politician, but she was interested in issues and she did much more to work toward those issues than most probably realize. Her vocal support of gay rights started in the 1970s and she became more vocal about it in the 1990s. Her support of nuclear non-proliferation and human rights were a significant part of her work and legacy early on, even though she is known primarily for being MLK’s wife.

My Life, My Love, My Legacy spends time on internal politics of the civil rights and post civil rights Black leadership. Andrew Young looks great. Abernathy, Jessie Jackson, Hosea Williams and a number of others do not. She does not claim to have been perfect and certainly points out a number of mistakes, especially with leadership issues of the King Center. But all of this is with a bit of detachment. I am not sure how much the method of writing is responsible for the detachment and how much is about personality. Barbara Reynolds, a reporter who became a friend and later through Coretta’s influence a minister, actually put the posthumous memoir together. They had a 30 year relationship and the memoir was intentionally worked on, but it was not released until 10 years after Coretta Scott King’s death. The detached tone may be more about that writing method and distance from the passion of the moment, but it is unclear.

Once she moved to discussion the children, which she does in detail and in large part as a discussion of legacy, there is real passion and warmth. I am not sure how I would feel about my mother speaking as publicly about my strengths and weaknesses and difficulties as she is about her children. But I hope the children saw this before it was published. The issues of legacy and the arguments with the National Park Service over land and buildings and the intellectual property fights over MLK’s speeches and writing has seemed petty when I have read about them in other places. But here they are presented as important protections of the legacy of a father and husband.

The last issue which needs to be noted is the discussion of whether MLK’s assassination was part of a conspiracy. And there she presents the case for a conspiracy, although the evidence is circumstantial. My personal inclination is that a conspiracy would not have lasted the years since his assassination. A civil court (with a lower threshold of evidence required than a criminal court) found that the government was likely involved in the assassination in 1999. But most people do not know that and the discussions of a conspiracy theory around MLK’s death do seem far fetched at this point.

However, as I noted above, we do know that the FBI did target King for a smear campaign. We do know that there was blackmail by the FBI to try to get MLK to commit suicide and there is evidence that at least some, if not all of the assertions of the FBI about MLK’s affairs was false evidence. The recent documents released under Trump were mostly presented as truth when they were released, but for people that had been following along, they were additional evidence of trumped up evidence by the FBI. The documents and recordings that the summary documents that were based on were not released with the summaries and so it will be additional years before the raw data that the FBI was working with is released to historians, if it ever is.

I understand belief in a conspiracy for King’s death given the FBI’s character assassination under J Edgar Hoover, but I am still unpersuaded that MLK’s death was a conspiracy. Although the refusal of the FBI to release full documentation and to do a full investigation makes it hard to completely disprove.

Coretta Scott King was fascinating and important in her own right. Martin did seem to under-appreciate her own talents and abilities, although he did depend on her especially for maintaining a stable family life and her fundraising and organizational skills. This is a worthy read because it is from her and has her stamp of approval of her story. But I am interested in reading a biography that has a bit more objectivity to the stories. Many of these stories felt particularly one sided. Now, 12 years after her death, but before the death of everyone around her, would be a good time for an in-depth biography. If anyone is aware of one that has been written that I have missed or aware of one being worked on I would love to hear about it.

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  • Pcure10
  • Washington, DC, US
  • 03-10-19

Riveting biography of Coretta’s life & work w/Movement

Dr. Barbara Reynolds captures the historical and personal details with clarity, emotion and Coretta’s personal insights that make Civil Rights & US History riveting. Thank you for recalling the details I knew and inserting those I didn’t. I wish more credit was given to Dr. Reynolds who was chosen by Coretta to research & write her memoir.

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Beautiful Life

I want to put this first, not only because it is news to me, but because I want to make sure everyone sees this part. There was a trial in 1999 where it was determined that the U.S government was responsible for the conspiracy to kill Martin Luther King Jr. I did not know this. Of course, we all figure that is what happened, however I did not know it was confirmed in the courts. With that said, Coretta Scott King is an amazing woman.

Scott is the most confident self-assured woman I have ever heard of. I say this in awe not criticism. She accomplished so much in her life that is often over shadowed by the legacy of her husband. But she was a force to be reckoned with and I'm ashamed to say I am just learning this. Her family experienced so much heartache it is a wonder how they kept going.

She in her time fought for civil rights for EVERYONE, including those in the LGBTQ community, which is saying something about a person of her time. But it's because she was a fighter for human rights and truly believed all humans are equal, as do I and as anyone should.

Furthermore, she says things at the time this was done that speak directly to what is happening today and our crisis.