A Dr. King Special Edition: Honoring Coretta while Remembering Martin

This week on the Queer News podcast Anna DeShawn shares some top queer news stories and drops a special edition honoring the work of Coretta Scott King while celebrating everything Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was to the world. Just as Dr. King was called to this civil rights work, so was Coretta. History has put her in boxes that keep her narrative somewhere behind Martin’s but no, not here on this podcast. On Queer News she is not just the wife of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She is the movement.

00:00 – Welcome to the Queer News podcast 
00:22 – Queer News Listenership Survey Update
1:14 – Join the QCrew, https://bit.ly/3L3Ng66 
3:35 – Queer News headlines
6:03 – Get Covered Illinois, https://GetCoveredIllinois.gov | Did you lose your health insurance coverage? At GetCoveredIllinois. gov, certified local navigators can help you find out if you qualify for a special enrollment period through the ACA Marketplace. Find out more at GetCoveredIllinois.gov. Your health coverage starts here.6:27 – Honoring Coretta while Remembering Martin
11:27 – Words from Coretta
12:06 – Dr. King & Coretta’s Partnership
17:49 – Leading Dr. King’s Remembrance


Things for you to check out

The Life of Coretta Scott King

Join the QCrew

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

Listen to More Queer News


Family, it’s your favorite queer radio personality Anna DeShawn and this is Queer News. Your fav weekly news pod where race & sexuality meet politics, culture, and entertainment. 

First and foremost I have to say thank you to everyone who took our first listenership survey. At the time of this recording we have 62 respondents. That’s really wonderful and it feels like a solid sample size of our audience. I’ll be drawing a winner for our $50 gift card today and sending an email to our winner. So be on the lookout! I can’t wait to dig into the data, review it with my team, and continue to improve the podcast. So thank you again. 

QCrew! We secured an exclusive interview for you. This month it is Raquel Willis. Raquel is an award-winning activist, author, and media strategist dedicated to Black transgender liberation. She was the first trans executive editor of Out magazine, She co-founded Transgender Week of Visibility and Action, currently serves as an executive producer for iHeartMedia’s Outspoken podcast network, is a WNBA Social Justice Council member and somehow she still found time to write a book. Not just any book either, her memoir titled “The Risk it Takes to Bloom: On Life and Liberation”. I got the opportunity to sit down with her and talk all about it. Well QCrew you get it first so check the email I sent your way. Now family, you can get the first take and exclusive interviews too if you join the QCrew. The QCrew is our Queer News community where you receive a weekly email sharing our top queer news stories, an unedited video from me about the top queer stories, and now first dibs on our exclusive interviews. The QCrew helps to supplement the costs of pod; podcast hosting, editing, marketing, PR, travel, etc. If you believe in the work we do. If you believe LGBTQ stories need to be amplified. If you love and respect how I report on the news and tell our stories, join the QCrew. A link is in the show notes. 

Today is Dr. King’s birthday and the day we celebrate his life & legacy. We’ll do this on the podcast with our special edition titled “Honoring Coretta while Remembering Martin”. Before we get into the special I do want to share a few top Queer News headlines. My goal is to do videos for these as well to give more information over the next week so make sure you’re following me on TikTok. First, the top story is Amber Minor. Amber was a 40 year-old Black trans woman who was killed in Missouri on Christmas Eve. Amber Minor, we speak your name today. In politics, Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine veteo’d anti-trans legislation which was a win only to turn around a week later and sign an executive order banning gender-transition surgeries for minors. Yea that happened. Then a trans woman looking to run for office in Ohio was disqualified because she didn’t disclose her deadname on the paperwork. In culture & entertainment, Mean Girls is out and all the queers were at the premiere in Atlanta. This musical adaptation has queer main characters and doesn’t shy away from them being exactly who they are which I heard is different than the original. If that’s your thing, go see it. It’s in theaters now. 

Now, it’s that time to jump into our Dr. King special edition. I’m on a personal mission to honor Coretta while we remember Martin because today wouldn’t even exist without her tireless labor and sacrifice for Black liberation. Anna’s word today is a quote from Coretta that you will hear in the episode and see in our artwork. She said, “I’ve always felt that homophobic attitudes and policies were unjust and unworthy of a free society and must be opposed by all Americans who believe in democracy. The civil rights movement thrives on unity and inclusion, not division and exclusion.” I hope that message resonates with you. I hope you learn something new. I hope you leave this episode inspired and I truly hope you enjoy it. 

Talk to you next week, peace. 

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. 

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.   

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. 


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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


A Dr. King Special Edition: Honoring Coretta while Remembering Martin

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