Coretta Scott King remembered at church where her husband preached

Monday, February 6, 2006

ATLANTA -- Hundreds mourned the loss of Coretta Scott King at the Sunday services of Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her late husband preached in the 1960s and the civil rights matriarch remained a member until her death.

"Praise God for Coretta Scott King; let the heavens rejoice for the witness of our sister," the Rev. Raphael Warnock said after a rousing rendition of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" stirred the congregation.

Later in the church's Heritage Sanctuary, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference/WOMEN also honored the widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for her quiet and courageous strength as a leader, wife and mother.

Atlanta's Mayor Shirley Franklin thanked King and others who worked "so that someone who was African-American and female could lead this great city."

In Detroit, the Rev. Al Sharpton remembered King at the Historic Little Rock Baptist Church's Sunday service.

"Mrs. King is not history because she is dignified," Sharpton said. "Yes, she was dignified. Yes, she had grace. Yes, she was regal, but that doesn't make her history. She is history because her husband and her stood up for what was right."

On Monday, King's body will lie in honor in Ebenezer's Heritage Sanctuary in the historically black Atlanta neighborhood where her late husband was born.

Service scheduled

Across the street in the church's Horizon Sanctuary, Sharpton and several other civil rights leaders, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, Ambassador Andrew Young and the Rev. Joseph Lowery, will attend a service remembering King this evening.

"It's the least we can do for the many sacrifices she made," Warnock said. "It is fitting for us to honor her. We join with people all over the world in celebration of her life."

King's funeral will be held Tuesday at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, where the Kings' youngest child, Bernice, is a minister.

King, known as the "first lady of the civil rights movement," died Monday at age 78. She had been at an alternative medicine clinic in Mexico, where doctors said she was battling advanced ovarian cancer. She also had been recovering from a serious stroke and heart attack.

On Saturday, thousands of mourners poured into the Georgia Capitol rotunda to pay tribute to King, the first woman and the first black person to lie in honor in what once was once a seat of segregation.


Associated Press writer Michael J. Feeney in Detroit contributed to this report.

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