Coretta Scott King, widow of the slain civil rights leader, is seen with a portrait of her late husband on January 14, 1972, at a time when she was lobbying to have his birthday declared a federal holiday.
In her 1969 autobiography, My Life With Martin Luther King Jr., she wrote, “Because his task was not finished, I felt that I must rededicate myself to the completion of his work.”
In 1970, she established the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center in Atlanta, a site that includes King’s boyhood home and the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he is buried.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Coretta Scott King worked to establish January 15 as a holiday. By 1983, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill declaring the third Monday in January a federal holiday, observed for the first time on January 20, 1986.
Corretta Scott King died at age 78 on January 30, 2006. Several months later, three of the Kings’ four children broke ground on the National Mall for a long-planned Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. (© AP Images)