Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I painted this portrait of Coretta Scott King for a Women's History Month project sponsored by one of my clients. It seems appropriate to repost it today, in her memory.

Although all of the recent obits refer to her as "the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." Mrs. King was an extraordinary person in her own right.

In recent years, King spoke out against racial profiling, mandatory minimum sentences and attacks on affirmative action. She became increasingly critical of businesses such as film and television companies, video arcades, gun manufacturers and toy makers she accused of promoting violence. She called for regulation of their advertising.

I may not always have agreeed with her politics, or her approach to solving the problems we face as a society, but I have always respected her heart, her passion, and her strength. Her death due to complications of ovarian cancer has left the world a sadder and colder place.

She was of a generation that expected women to "keep to their place"-- particularly "women of color," as they were then called. While rejecting those old-fashioned notions, she never lost her dignity. She was what her generation would have called a "lady." (Even if many of them would have choked on hearing the term applied to an African-American woman!) She was a class act, always.

Young girls of every color and every part of society would do well to note that in a world where Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton are likely to get more press coverage this week than Coretta Scott King, it is becoming more difficult for kids of either sex to separate media hounds from moral heroes. Real heroes rarely find themselves on the cover of People promoting themselves. If they do find themselves there, it is because of the nature of their work, not the cost of their outfit, or their last public domestic brawl. Posted by Picasa

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