Interview with Coretta Scott King


Coretta Scott King:

Oh, and so I got a call, and the call came in downstairs, and when I came onto the call the operator was saying, "Will you get your child off the phone, please," and so, little Dexter was there babbling away on the phone, and I yelled down to say, "Get Dexter off the phone," and then this voice came on, and I knew it was a familiar voice. And he said, "Mrs. King, I—how are you? I got your message and I understand you talked to my brother, and he, did he explain to you we sent the FBI in last night to check on your husband and he, he is all right? I want you to know that we are doing everything we can and Dr. King is, is, is safe, and if there's anything that I can do, in the next few days to be of help, feel free to call on me. You know how to get me, don't you? You get in touch with me, or my brother, or Pierre. You know how to get me, don't you?" And I said, "Yes, Mr. President, thank you so much." He said, "And by the way, your husband will be calling you very shortly." And it was such a relief, in about fifteen minutes, Martin called. And of course, he fasted when he went to jail, and he was really, you could tell he was very kind of down, with no energy. And when he spoke of course, he was very glad to speak to me, but he didn't know why he was calling. And of course, I tried to convey it to him without saying every word because we knew we were being wiretapped. And so he got, sent back to me to get the message through to Wyatt Walker, and you know, get the press, you know, we had to use the press to keep, get the word out. And Martin said after that they were, as a matter of fact, they had been sleeping on steel, they gave him mattresses, and pillows, and got them out for exercise, and showers, and so forth. I mean, the treatment changed markedly. And it was because of that intervention. Well, you know, after that, I felt much better, and of course I was able to go and visit Martin that week, and, and of course I felt better after I knew he was in communication, that someone could reach him. As long as he was safe, I didn't worry about what he was doing, because I supported it, and I believed, I knew it had to be done. And he very much wanted to do this, to identify with the life, the life of Christ, going to jail on Good Friday. And it was a very, very emotional thing with the staff, I understand, when he was trying to make his decision. Because if he went to jail, broke the injunction, what would happen if the movement stopped, or if it continued, or how, you know, all that he had to make a decision on. He was trying to get Ralph to go with him. Ralph said, I need to be in my pulpit, Easter Sunday. You have Daddy King and you don't have to be there. And he said, Ralph, you've always been with me, but I'm going, and Ralph joined him.