ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
Three weeks after Dr. King was assassinated, his widow went to New York City to speak at a rally against the Vietnam War. Her husband was supposed to give that speech, and Coretta Scott King used notes that were found in Dr. King's pockets.
Ms. CORETTA SCOTT KING (Human rights activist and leader, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.): I come to New York today with the strong feeling that my dearly beloved husband, who was snatched suddenly from our midst slightly more than three weeks ago now, would have wanted me to be present today. Though my heart is heavy with grief from having suffered an irreparable personal loss, my faith in the redemptive will of God is stronger today than ever before.
You who have worked with and loved my husband so much, you who have kept alive the burning issue of war in the American conscience, you who will not be deluded by talk of peace, and who press on in the knowledge that the work of peacemaking must continue until the last gun is silent, I come to you in my grief only because you keep alive the work and dreams for which my husband gave his life. My husband derived so much of his strength and inspiration from the love of people who shared his dream that I, too, now come hoping you might strengthen me for the lonely road ahead.
SIEGEL: That 1968 recording courtesy of Pacifica Radio. Coretta Scott King would go on to found the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change in Atlanta. She led the campaign for a federal holiday in her husband's name.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.