Commission, sorority remember Coretta
Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 2:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 2:38 p.m.
Coretta Scott King, beloved wife of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a civil rights leader who dedicated her life to maintaining her husband's legacy, was honored and remembered with prayer, music, praise dancing and a tribute by her Gainesville sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
Lorena Silva, a member of the Iota Lambda chapter of Alapha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. at the University of Florida, presided over the program, "Remembering Coretta," an observance held in conjunction with the King Celebration 2013 and sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Florida. It was held last Tuesday at New Macedonia Baptist Church.
"Coretta was the heart and soul of the civil rights movement," said keynote speaker Chelsea Slater, also a member of the UF chapter. "Coretta was selfless, putting others' well-being ahead of hers. She didn't neglect the struggle and maintained her husband's commitment to economic justice."
Coretta Scott King, who died at age 79 on Jan. 30, 2006, was born on April 27, 1927, in Marion, Ala. She worked side-by-side with her husband, and after his death, continued to fight for civil rights.
The invocation and benediction were delivered by the Rev. Willie Caison, pastor of New Macedonia, and Andranique Boone, a member of the King Commission Board of Directors, recognized elected and appointed officials.
In her welcome and occasion, Florida Bridgewater-Alford, president and CEO of the Twenty Pearls Foundation, the chairtable and educational arm of the Gainesville alumnae chapter of the sorority, said Coretta was a beautiful woman of substance who stood by her husband's side. "Her love, truth and courage to do what's right should be our path in this long journey," said Bridgewater-Alford. "The struggle continues. Unfortunately, the struggle is a never-ending process."
The King Celebration Community Choir sang throughout the program. Tributes in dance were provided by Mikayla Suggs and Mya McGraw of the Mount Moriah Baptist Church Dance Ministry and Philissa Baskin of New Macedonia. Courtney Gilmore and Yasmine Small, members of the UF chapter, sang a duet, "For You I Will" by Monica, and Victoria McNeil, also of the UF chapter, recited "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou, the famous national poet and author.
Lamont Wallace, a ninth-grader at Gainesville High School and the winner of the 2013 Oratorical Contest high school division, read his essay, "Where we are today." Wallace closed with the words from "the old Negro spiritual," "Free at Last! Free at Last! Thank God Almighty, We are free at last!," which also are the last lines of King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech, which he delivered 50 years ago during the "March on Washington" in the nation's capital.
In his closing remarks, Rodney J. Long, founder and president of the King Commission, said Coretta Scott King spoke against all forms of racism and discrimination "like those directed to Arabs and Muslims."
He said Coretta Scott King gave every inch of all she had to make sure King's dream of equality for all would become a reality. "When we speak of King, we remember behind or in front of a great man is a great woman," said Long.
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