East Texans Remember Coretta Scott King - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/31/06-Tyler

East Texans Remember Coretta Scott King

80-year-old Opal Edwards of Tyler was a young woman during the civil rights movement. She watched as Coretta Scott King became a voice of the movement until her death. "I was saddened naturally. I was saddened because we never expect anybody to pass away," says Opal. Friends say Coretta Scott King fought segregation and violence even before she met Dr. King. SamWilliams saw first hand the fruits of her sacrifice. "That was in 1964. There was some stuff that happened at the job I retired from now. I've seen a lot of changes come in," says Sam. "She spoke out for what she believed in and I think that was great of her," says Marie Spencer. But Mrs. King was no stranger to East Texas. "It was an honor to have her indeed!," says Dr. George Hamm, President Emeritus of UT-Tyler. Dr. Hamm was president of UT-Tyler when Mrs. King was invited to speak as part of their Distinguished Lecture Series. Hamm says she was charming, gracious, refined and dignified. "It's a real loss when you lose somebody that has had such a great impact on society and was with a person who had that enormous impact," says Hamm. "Her being a woman, she spoke for the woman. Of course, she spoke for everybody but you can really sense her feeling for the woman," says Melinda Johnson. "She lived her life, she did what she believed was right to do," says Jeannie Ford. The heart attack and stroke she suffered last October left Mrs. King unable to speak. But the message behind her mission will continue to be heard loud and clear.

Mrs. King died in a Mexican holistic hospital with her daughters by her side. Her son, Martin Luther King, III will be in Tyler on April 13th, as a speaker for UT-Tyler's Distinguished Lecture Series.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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