Though the spreading of his ideologies furthered his work, Coretta’s ability to create national awareness of King guaranteed a legacy that would even outlive her. In her continuation of Martin’s work, Coretta felt that it was necessary to have a definitive mark of the barrier breaking work King achieved during his lifetime. Eventually, Coretta was able to pass through Congress a national holiday that would honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Crawford states, “Coretta King led the lobbying campaigns to establish Dr. King’s birthday as a federal holiday, the only national holiday to be named in honor of an African American.” (Crawford 114). As mentioned on The King Center’s website, “…in January 1986, Mrs. King oversaw the first legal holiday in honor of her husband–a holiday which has come to be celebrated by millions of people world-wide and, in some form, in over 100 countries.” (thekingcenter.org). Martin Luther King, Jr. day remains as the only day celebrated for a single individual, a great representation of King’s work to promote and further the African-American people, and just the overall world population.
As the years progressed, Coretta Scott King would achieve far more, both with work in honor of King as well as work she felt she was called upon. The character that Coretta Scott King displayed allows one to derive a number of thoughts in regards to King as an individual. King was a well educated man, a devoted preacher, and unforgettable leader in activism. It is not absurd to say that if anyone were to rival the work of Dr. King it would certainly be his wife. Martin was a man of virtue and he clearly applied the values and beliefs of his faith to every decision he had made. King’s decision to marry Coretta was not one he thought upon as simple. Dr. King has chosen to marry a woman who held God as high as he did. Coretta was incredibly God-like in the many sacrifices she made throughout her marriage and entire life. Sacrificing normalcy and privacy, Coretta worked to create the greatest life for King and their four children. The greatest life Coretta could create is one in which she furthered the work of King and never allowed for his success and ideologies to be forgotten. As stated by Coretta herself, “There was much I had to learn to do in the course of my life, and I did not have a blueprint. I could not call upon Martin as Martin had called upon me. I made mistakes, but I pray those will be charged to lack of understanding and not to malicious intent. I learned how to lobby, how to advance human rights through the political system, from city councils to state houses to Congress to the White House itself.” (Scott King & Reynolds 5). Though apprehensive, living in a unknowing state, and even living with the title of a widow, Coretta Scott King took every opportunity to learn and grow in the direction that Dr. King had grown. Coretta’s work made it possible for King’s legacy to live on, as well as allowing future communities to guide both his and her work forward.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy is one that is everlasting, and much of that is credited to his monumental work. Mrs. Coretta Scott King generates and provides an individual with a greater knowledge of Dr. King’s work. Coretta Scott King has provided to many an ability to celebrate and immerse themselves in the environment where King’s activism flourished. Through her lifelong devotion to King, and her admiration of the movement, Coretta Scott King has given King a lasting legacy, as well as brought the community closer to King’s desired “promised land” (5).