Interview with Coretta Scott King

Now Mrs. King I understand that you took part in an unprecedented action in 1321 South Holden. Could you describe that for us?


The Southern Christian Leadership, Leadership, excuse me. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference in an effort to dramatize the plight of poor people who lived in slum dwellings in Chicago actually took over some apartments and began to clean them up and to, of course collect the rent and, and to file complaints with the Housing Authority, ah, which of course, ah, ah, were acted upon. And in that process Martin and I, and along with Al Raby, ah, got into work clothes, ah, and we got, ah, shovels and, and we began to, ah, you know, to, ah, lift up the garbage and put it into the cans because it was all around the apartment buildings, on the ground and every place, and clean up the place in general. And, ah, this was, a, a, I think it was an important effort. And I remember it was very cold, ah, very cold day when we did this. Ah, but it was important to, to make that statement, I think, so that, ah, it was carried, you know, on the news and in the newspaper. Ah, those conditions, ah, were not known certainly by a lot of people. They didn't know how badly, how poor, ah, how, how, I say it, how, ah, ah, how bad the slum conditions were for some people who had to live under those conditions and yet pay exorbitant rents for what they were getting. And, ah, this was a part of this whole fair housing, ah, ah, thrust that began in Chicago that finally ended up in getting housing legislation, ah, in 1968. And this was of course after my husband's death. But I think that this effort eventually, ah, did pay, pay off but it took a long time.