Coretta Scott King was an iconic civil rights leader, activist, and author. Our Coretta Scott King quotes reveal her views on American society, justice, and more.
What have you learned about Coretta Scott King in the past?
Coretta Scott King attended Antioch College in the 1950s to turn her life-long passion for music into a profession. After winning a fellowship, she transferred to the New England Conservatory of Music where she first met Martin Luther King, Jr.
After marrying Martin Luther King, Jr. and earning her degree, Scott-King worked within the civil rights movement. She advocated for the rights of women, the LGBT community, and African-Americans.
After her husband’s assassination, Scott-King founded the King Center in 1968 to further implement “Dr. King’s nonviolent philosophy and methodology.”
Learn more about the amazing life of Coretta Scott King below.
Don’t forget to also check out these Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes to inspire courage, peace and equality.
Powerful Coretta Scott King quotes
1. “Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” – Coretta Scott King
2. “When the heart is right, the mind and the body will follow.” – Coretta Scott King
3. “Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.” – Coretta Scott King
4. “Just be what you are. And I try to be my best self and be what I am and knowing what I am and be satisfied with that. And if people don’t know it, maybe they’ll eventually know it.” – Coretta Scott King
5. “You cannot have peaceful means – peaceful means will have to be used to bring about peaceful ends. If you use destructive means, you’re going to bring about destructive ends.” – Coretta Scott King
6. “Money is necessary — both to support a family and to advance causes one believes in.” – Coretta Scott King
7. “It doesn’t matter how strong your opinions are. If you don’t use your power for positive change, you are, indeed, part of the problem.” – Coretta Scott King
8. “No abundance of material goods can compensate for the death of individuality and personal creativity.” – Coretta Scott King
9. “To really know someone is to have loved and hated him in turn.” – Coretta Scott King
10. “When you are willing to make sacrifices for a great cause, you will never be alone.” – Coretta Scott King
Coretta Scott King quotes about society
11. “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King
12. “The failure to invest in youth reflects a lack of compassion and a colossal failure of common sense.” – Coretta Scott King
13. “I believe all Americans who believe in freedom, tolerance and human rights have a responsibility to oppose bigotry and prejudice based on sexual orientation.” – Coretta Scott King
14. “There is no reason why a nation as rich as ours should be blighted by poverty, disease, and illiteracy.” – Coretta Scott King
15. “When aroused the American conscience is a powerful force for reform.” – Coretta Scott King
16. “All we seek is an America where every person is given the chance to productively contribute to his country and where he can receive a fair and equitable share of the wealth that production creates.” – Coretta Scott King
17. “The woman power of this nation can be the power which makes us whole and heals the rotten community, now so shattered by war and poverty and racism. I have great faith in the power of women who will dedicate themselves whole-heartedly to the task of remaking our society.” – Coretta Scott King
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of community quotes about the power of connecting with others.
18. “Something is wrong that we have to feed so many. Why should there be poverty with all of our science and technology? There is no deficit in human resources – it is a deficit in human will.” – Coretta Scott King
19. “Thank God we have the example of Martin Luther King, Jr. People need role models. They need to see examples of people in peoples’ lives, and that’s why it’s so important not just to commemorate his life, but to study and try to live by the principles of that life.” – Coretta Scott King
Coretta Scott King quotes about justice and nonviolence
20. “Justice is never advanced in the taking of a human life.” – Coretta Scott King
21. “Revenge and retaliation always perpetuate the cycle of anger, fear and violence.” – Coretta Scott King
22. “Non-violence is a permanent attitude we bring to the breakfast table and bring to bed at night.” – Coretta Scott King
23. “Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others.” – Coretta Scott King
24. “Nonviolence is the only credible response to the violence we’re seeing around the world.” – Coretta Scott King
25. “Nonviolence would work today, it would work 2,000 years from now, it would work 5,000 years from now.” – Coretta Scott King
Coretta Scott King quotes about her life and family
26. “My story is a freedom song from within my soul. It is a guide to discovery, a vision of how even the worst pain and heartaches can be channeled into human monuments, impenetrable and everlasting.” – Coretta Scott King
27. “Before I was married to Martin and became a King, I was a proud Scott, shaped by my mother’s discernment and my father’s strength.” – Coretta Scott King
28. “I suppose I experienced the personal dilemma that baffles every working woman. What happens when you are expected to be Superwoman, to perform a dozen conflicting tasks at the same time?” – Coretta Scott King
29. “Sometimes, I am also identified as a civil rights leader or a human rights activist. I would also like to be thought of as a complex, three-dimensional, flesh-and-blood human being with a rich storehouse of experiences, much like everyone else, yet unique in my own way, much like everyone else.” – Coretta Scott King
30. “On Thanksgiving Night, 1942, when I was fifteen years old, white racists burned our house to the ground.” – Coretta Scott King
31. “Mama and Daddy King represent the best in manhood and womanhood, the best in a marriage, the kind of people we are trying to become.” – Coretta Scott King
32. “I always knew that I was called to do something. I didn’t know what, but I finally rationalized after I met Martin – and it took a lot of praying to discover this – that this was probably what God had called me to do: to marry him.” – Coretta Scott King
33. “When fear rushed in, I learned how to hear my heart racing but refused to allow my feelings to sway me. That resilience came from my family. It flowed through our bloodline.” – Coretta Scott King
34. “Marrying Martin and the movement perfected my journey of discovery, soothed my yearning to pour out the values and vision within my soul.” – Coretta Scott King
35. “I’m fulfilled in what I do. I never thought that a lot of money or fine clothes – the finer things of life – would make you happy. My concept of happiness is to be filled in a spiritual sense.” – Coretta Scott King
36. “My professional and personal roots in Alabama are deep and lasting.” – Coretta Scott King
37. “Knowing what I know now, if I could have chosen parents, I would have chosen exactly the ones God selected for me.” – Coretta Scott King
38. “What most did not understand then was that I was not only married to the man I loved, but I was also married to the movement that I loved.” – Coretta Scott King
Coretta Scott King quotes about social issues
39. “To abandon affirmative action is to say there is nothing more to be done about discrimination.” – Coretta Scott King
40. “As one whose husband and mother-in-law have died the victims of murder and assassination, I stand firmly and unequivocally opposed to the death penalty for those convicted of capital offenses… An evil deed is not redeemed by an evil deed of retaliation.” – Coretta Scott King
41. “Segregation was wrong when it was forced by white people, and I believe it is still wrong when it is requested by black people.” – Coretta Scott King
42. “Particularly in the South, efforts continue to be made to deny blacks access to the polls, even where blacks constitute the majority of the voters.” – Coretta Scott King
43. “It is plain that we don’t care about our poor people except to exploit them as cheap labor and victimize them through excessive rents and consumer prices.” – Coretta Scott King
44. “I think that… discrimination in the job market is a very important area where work needs to be done.” – Coretta Scott King
45. “Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood.” – Coretta Scott King
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to check out our collection of racism quotes about respect and equality.
46. “A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage is a form of gay-bashing and it would do nothing to protect traditional marriages.” – Coretta Scott King
47. “I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.” – Coretta Scott King
48. “Our Congress passes laws which subsidize corporation farms, oil companies, airlines, and houses for suburbia. But when they turn their attention to the poor, they suddenly become concerned about balancing the budget and cut back on the funds for Head Start, Medicare, and mental health appropriations.” – Coretta Scott King
49. “In the area of economic justice, we still have a long way to go. We have too many people who are discriminated against just because they happen to be black or they happen to be a woman or some other minority.” – Coretta Scott King
50. “I must remind you that starving a child is violence. Neglecting school children is violence. Punishing a mother and her family is violence. Discrimination against a working man is violence. Ghetto housing is violence. Ignoring medical need is violence. Contempt for poverty is violence.” – Coretta Scott King
Do you value inclusivity?
One of the things that inspire me the most about Coretta Scott King is that her fight for equality included many different groups of people. She used her power and status to expand upon Dr. King’s fight for equality. She publicly invited other groups, such as the LGBT community, to join the civil rights movement.
When you’re in a position of power, it’s important that you give underrepresented groups a “seat at the table.” Ensuring that we all have a voice allows us to make deeper connections with one another and work together to make strides towards equality for all.
Which of these Coretta Scott King quotes and sayings is your favorite? Let us know below!