Coretta Scott King not only carried on her husband’s legacy but proved to be a leader in her own right, members of the TCU community said Tuesday.The 78-year-old “first lady of the civil rights movement” died in her sleep Tuesday night at an alternative medicine clinic in Mexico, her family said. Doctors said the cause of death was respiratory failure.
Tracy Syler-Jones, director of communications, remembered King as someone with strength and endurance.
“She had her work cut out for her,” Syler-Jones said. “Even in sorrow, she showed her strength to continue the legacy that her husband left behind.”
NAACP chapter adviser Yolanda Hughes described King as a woman who was not vocal but had a “quiet strength.”
“She was the strength and encouragement behind her husband,” Hughes said. “She got to see a lot of things that her husband didn’t and she elaborated to his life.”
Some of King’s greatest attributes, according to the Academy of Achievement, included running the King Center for 27 years, curbing gun violence, increasing AIDS awareness and fighting racial and economic injustice.
“She was a quiet, strong and elegant leader, and we have lost someone that has reminded us to keep ourselves strong and keep our values,” said Darron Turner, assistant vice chancellor for Student Affairs.
According to the Academy of Achievement, King led a campaign to have her husband’s birthday observed as a national holiday and achieved success in 1986.
Danisha Egans, a junior Spanish major and membership chair of NAACP at TCU, said King and her husband’s ideas reflected each other.
“She was a strong person with or without her husband,” Egans said. “If she hadn’t been, she would have died with him, but she continued to do the work that she loved after he passed away.”
Some information in this story was provided by the Associated Press.