“If I had not had a wife with the fortitude, strength, and calmness of Coretta, I could have not stood up amid the ordeals and tensions…Coretta proved to be that type of wife with qualities to make a husband when he could have been so easily broken.” – Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Coretta Scott King has one of the most important stories of the twentieth century and we’ve never heard it, until now. My Life, My Love, My Legacy, tells us what many may have already known: that the full life story of the civil rights activist and humanitarian is much more than just Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s wife.

Even in today’s times, Black women’s contributions can tend to be overlooked. The most dangerous part about this particular form of erasure is that it doesn’t give us a full picture of who we are and where we’re headed. If we’re not careful, it can undo our progress. Released just one day after #MLKDay, a holiday whose existence was catapulted by King herself, the pioneer gives us a powerful inside look into her world and her life.

Her Life’s Work Began Before Dr. King

It was the foundation of her family that would set Coretta up for a long fight against injustice. Her story opens with an act of hate when she watches her family home be burned to the ground. Refusing to shrink in the face of adversity, both of her parents responded with action. It was their push to focus on education that became the driving force behind her leaving her small town of Heiberger, Alabama.

“When fear rushed in, I learned how to hear my heart racing but refused to allow my feelings to sway me. That resilience came from my family. It flowed through our bloodline. Before I was married to Martin and became a King, I was a proud Scott, shaped by my mother’s discernment and my father’s strength. Knowing what I know now, if I could have chosen parents, I would have chosen exactly the ones God selected for me.”

Her Love and Work For Justice Didn’t Stop With His Death

One of the most compelling aspects of Coretta Scott King was her tremendous faith. It was that faith that compelled her to keep going after the tragic and devastating loss of her husband.

“They may have killed the dreamer but they will never kill his dream. I vowed that I would carry that dream forward. I prayed that my children and all our supporters could see that my Martin’s spirit, strong and determined, would carry forth and his work would live on.”

She spent her life not just fighting for civil rights, but also issues around war, gender equality and education.

Her Legacy is Bigger Than Just Being Dr. King’s Wife

Not only did her work allow her to help create the King Center, Coretta also created a national holiday, spurred redevelopment in Atlanta, met with presidents, prime ministers, spirituals leaders, and had been a part of some of the largest peace demonstrations in history. She worked at every level to transform an evil system of violence and bigotry for all people. It is her commitment to bettering the world that will keep her story alive in our hearts.

“I want people to know that I was committed to leaving an eternal flame, built on love, that would never be extinguished. I wanted this flame to touch lives, communities, and nations. I wanted it to be an urgent call to community and public service. My story is a freedom song from within my soul. It is a guid to discovery, a vision of how even the worst pain and heartaches can be channeled into human monuments, impenetrable and everlasting.”

My Life, My Love, My Legacy is now available for purchase.

Melissa Kimble is the Senior Social Media Manager for the EBONY brand. An advocate for Black Creatives via #blkcreatives, you can connect with her on Twitter at @Melissa_Kimble.