29 reasons to celebrate Black History Month: No. 14 Civil Rights Couples

February marks Black History Month. Follow the AJC this month for a series of short stories and videos and people, places and events that played a significant role in the development of black people in America.

No. 14: The Kings and other Civil Rights Couples

Valentine's Day: "I am indebted to my wife Coretta, without whose love, sacrifices, and loyalty neither life nor work would bring fulfillment. She has given me words of consolation when I needed them and a well-ordered home where Christian love is a reality.

Those words were written of course by Martin Luther King Jr. about his wife Coretta Scott King, whom he met in January of 1952 and married 18 months later on June 18, 1953.

In “The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.,” edited by King scholar Clayborne Carson, King wrote extensively about his wife and mother of his four children – Yolanda, Martin III, Dexter and Bernice.

“It was in Boston that I met and fell in love with the attractive singer Coretta Scott, whose gentle manner and air of repose did not disguise her lively spirit. I had met quite a few girls in Boston, but none that I was particularly fond of,” King wrote about their meeting.

He wrote that after their first date, he told his mother, "Coretta is going to be my wife."

From 1952 until King’s death in 1968, “Corrie” as he called her, remained a steadfast ally and partner to her husband.

Just like other wives of the movement.

Myrlie to Medgar Evers.

Juanita to Ralph David Abernathy.

Evelyn to Joseph Lowery.

Octavia to C.T. Vivian.

Jean to Andrew Young.

In his autobiography, King wrote a passage about his wife that could have applied to all of them.

“One of the frustrating aspects of my life has been the great demands that come as a result of my involvement in the civil rights movement and the struggle for justice and peace,” King wrote. “I have to be away from home a great deal and that takes me away from the family so much. It's just impossible to carry out the responsibilities of a father and husband when you have these kinds of demands. But fortunately I have a most understanding wife who has tried to explain to the children why I have to be absent so much.”

Click here to read two love letters King wrote to his wife.