Just as Dr. King was called to this work, so was Coretta. History has put her in boxes that keep her narrative set somewhere behind Martin’s but no, not here, not today. She is not just the wife of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She was the movement.

00:00 – Welcome & Intro

00:45 – Welcome to Season 2

03:23 – Dr. King Special Edition Intro

04:54 – Honoring Coretta while Remembering Martin

06:38 – The Making of Coretta

08:02 – Words from Coretta

10:25 – Dr. King & Coretta’s Partnership

12:41 – Leading Dr. King’s Remembrance

14:13 – Two Excepts from Mrs. King

16:03 – Anna’s Got A Word

Things for you to check out

Coretta Scott King – Made By Her: Monumental Women | Hulu

Join the QCrew

The Life of Coretta Scott King

Our December QCrew exclusive with VDOM founder Glenise

Listen to More Queer News


Family, it’s your favorite queer radio personality Anna DeShawn here with second season of the award winning Queer News podcast. 

Family, welcome to season two of the Queer News podcast. Season one was an amazing ride. We published 128 episodes together. We had 25,343 unique listens to the podcast. We won four awards. We’ve garnered 15,000 followers on TikTok. We’ve increased our reach on Instagram and Facebook by over 1500%. I really thought that was a joke when I pulled the data but it wasn’t. According to listen notes we are in the top 5% of podcasts that are being produced today out of the 2.9 million active podcasts. We know our top five cities for the podcast are Portland, DC, LA, New York, and number one is Chicago of course. I’ve been a guest on 24 podcasts. You supported me to go cover the 35th anniversary of the AIDS Memorial Quilt which opened up so many opportunities and birthed a new podcast; Black HIV in the South: How Did We Get Here? This will be our first Qube Original podcast and it’s dropping on February 7th. Simply put, 2022 was just simply amazing & so much of that is because of you. It’s because you listened. It’s because you supported me. It’s because you join the QCrew. It’s because you told a friend. It’s because you wrote a review. It’s because you believe in queer news. When I started on this journey I didn’t know, just didn’t know so many people would care the way that I care about queer news in our community. This podcast brings me so much joy and I’ll continue doing it for as long as it brings me this type of joy. 

Now, I have decided to take this month as a time to rest and reflect on the podcast and plan for 2023. I’m doing everything I can to avoid the dreaded podfade while also opening myself up to think creatively about the pod. I want to create opportunities for you all to submit Queer News stories to me that are happening in your communities. I want to ask y’all questions and you reply via voice notes. I want to add your voices to the podcast. I’m thinking through these things and figuring out the best way to execute. I’m also setting new goals for myself and the podcast. I wouldn’t be a good Virgo if I didn’t do that. 

For today I will be dropping a special edition Honoring Coretta while Remembering Martin. The following two weeks will be feed swaps with Black Queer podcasts I think you’ll really enjoy; Bad Queers and Grown Up. I was blessed enough to be a guest on these podcasts and I really encourage you to go follow them too. It is so good to be embarking upon 2023 with you. Now without further ado please enjoy our Dr. King special edition: Honoring Coretta while Remembering Martin. 

Today is the day set aside to remember the life & legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. To this day when I hear his voice & listen to his speeches I get chills. Even more so now as an adult as I have an even greater understanding of the enormous sacrifice that was made. It is with that sacrifice in mind that I wanted to drop this special edition titled Honoring Coretta while remembering Martin. Throughout this episode I’m going to talk about her life before Martin, with Martin, and after Martin. I will share audio clips of Mrs. King herself because we don’t hear her voice enough. She was her own woman and I contend his legacy wouldn’t be what it is today without her being who she always was, a fierce unstoppable force. 

Family, we know Dr. King was a scholar, a preacher, and a good troublemaker. His beliefs have been watered down to a few select moments in time but to study the arch of his work is to know that he was challenging far more than jim crow. He stood in opposition to war. He stood in opposition to capitalism. Do you? If Dr. King was alive today, would you support him? Well the arch and expansiveness of his beliefs did not occur by happenstance. Mrs. King was one of the only civil rights leaders of our time who truly believed in radical inclusiveness. Her belief system didn’t form after she met Martin; she was clear long before then that the world needed to change. 

Born in Marion, Alabama her parents were entrepreneurs who disrupted the status quo of what white folks thought their place was supposed to be in the world. Because of that as a teenager her family home and their sawmill business was burned to the ground by white supremacist. She was very keenly aware of the vile hate that existed in the world and wanted to be part of the change. While studying music at Antioch college she became politically active with the NAACP, civil liberties committees & various peace movements. Dr. King wrote in his autobiography, “She talked about things other than music. I never will forget, the first discussion we had was about the question of racial and economic injustice and the question of peace. She had been actively engaged in movements dealing with these problems. After an hour, my mind was made up. I said, “So you can do something else besides sing? You’ve got a good mind also. You have everything I ever wanted in a woman. We ought to get married someday.” I didn’t want a wife I couldn’t communicate with. I had to have a wife who would be as dedicated as I was. I wish I could say that I led her down this path, but I must say we went down it together because she was as actively involved and concerned when we met as she is now”.

Bayard Rustin who was the architect of so much of the work was friends with Mrs. King before he ever met Dr. King. She brought him into their lives and we can be sure that much of what we know today as the civil rights movement wouldn’t have been what it was without Bayard. No matter how many of the preachers didn’t want him there because he was gay. Mrs. King had the ear of the one person who could truly make the final decision and Bayard wasn’t going anywhere. Her radical inclusiveness was unheard of in the circles she kept and even within her own family. She was focused on getting Black folks to examine their homophobia. She would call out Black pastors and hold them accountable. I quote, “Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others”. Amen. Take a listen to a couple of speeches she gave on this very subject. INSERT SPEECHES ON HOMOPHOBIA 

Do ya’ll see what I mean? For history will lead you to believe that Mrs. King was just sitting at home, raising their four children and being a quiet dutiful Christian wife. Now raising their four children, yes, they were her top priority but she was far from quiet and dutiful. It’s said that she actually crossed out “obey” from their marriage vows because she wasn’t having that. She never stopped singing and began hosting Freedom Concerts to raise money for the movement. She would sing classical songs, traditional spirituals, and speak to the world she would help create. Take a listen to Mrs. King sing. INSERT CLIP OF MRS KING SINGER She had a beautiful voice and was on the road to being a mezzo-soprano phenomenon until she met Martin. I will say she was very clear that her place was beside her husband not behind. Oftentimes when Dr. King couldn’t make an engagement he would call on Mrs. King to speak in his place. When they marched together she was never behind him was she. She was right there putting her life on the line right next to him. 

And we know on April 4th, his life was taken and it quite literally shook the world. It was a moment where anyone who was alive could tell you exactly where they were when they heard the news. They can tell you how they felt. Well today we know even more of the story. We know that the day before he was exhausted. He’d been traveling, marching, meeting, receiving countless death threats, and didn’t want to give that now infamous speech in Memphis. Ya’ll know the one. Let me play it for you. INSERT CLIP OF DR KINGS FINAL SPEECH Whew allow me to let those chills roll off my arms for a second. He could feel death was near. Well did you know that a couple days after his assissination Mrs. King decided to go to Memphis. Before Dr. King’s services, she decided in the midst of her grief to stand in for her husband as she’d done so many times before and lead the Sanitation worker’s silent march. It’s documented that 42,000 people attended and hear what she had to say.  INSERT CLIP OF MRS KING SPEAKING at Rally 

It wasn’t a month later that she attended the Central Park peace rally. They weren’t expecting her to speak but when she did this is what she said, “…the work of peacemaking must continue until the last gun is silent. I come to you in my grief only because you keep alive the work and dreams for which my husband gave his life. My husband derived so much of his strength and inspiration from the love of people who shared his dream, that I too now come hoping you might strengthen me for the lonely road ahead.” 

Now hear two excerpts from Mrs. King. First, a speech she gave at Harvard in 1968 just months after Dr. King’s assissination and shortly after Robert Kennedy’s. Following that excerpt is another from the Solidarity Day rally in 1968 where she talks about the various types of violence and how they show up in the world. Take a listen. INSERT CLIPS OF MRS KING SPEAKING ON VIOLENCE 

You heard what she said about the police right. Okay just making sure. I decided to honor Coretta while remembering Martin because she carried his legacy on her shoulders for the rest of her life. She spoke, she traveled, she was criticized for not taking stronger political stances. She made this day possible to ensure that her husband’s legacy would not die. She made sure there was a King center to ensure she was able to tell the story and educate others. Just as Dr. King was called to this work, so was Coretta. History has put her in boxes that keep her narrative set somewhere behind Martin’s but no, not here, not today. She is not just the wife of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She was the movement. 

Thank you Mrs. King for your sacrifice. For you radical inclusiveness. For seeing, loving, and embracing people just like me. Till tomorrow family, peace. 


Martin Luther King Jr., Homosexuality, and the Early Gay Rights Movement: Keeping the Dream Straight? 1st ed. 2012 Edition by Michael G. Long (Author), Desmond Tutu (Author)

CNP Summit 2021 – Influencing a King: Bayard Rustin & Coretta Scott King’s LGBTQ+ Activism 


Am A Man” Dr. King and The Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike Man” Dr. King and The Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike


Stanford | The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute 

Chapter 5: Coretta


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