Desert Rose by Edythe Scott Bagley
The Life and Legacy of Coretta Scott King

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Desert Rose details Coretta Scott King's upbringing in a family of proud, land-owning African Americans with a profound devotion to the ideals of social equality and the values of education, as well as her later role as her husband's most trusted confidant and advisor.    Coretta Scott King—noted author, human rights activist, and wife and partner of famed Civil Rights Movement leader Martin Luther King Jr.—grew up in the rural Alabama Black Belt with her older sister, Edythe Scott Bagley. Bagley chronicles the sisters’ early education together at the Crossroads School and later at the progressive Lincoln School in Marion. She describes Coretta’s burgeoning talent for singing and her devotion to musical studies, and the sisters’ experiences matriculating at Antioch College, an all-white college far from the rural South. Bagley provides vivid insights into Coretta’s early passion for racial and economic justice, which lead to her involvement in the Peace Movement and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.   As Coretta’s older sister, Edythe shared in almost all of Coretta’s many trials and tribulations. Desert Rose charts Coretta’s hesitance about her romance with Martin Luther King and the prospect of having to sacrifice her dream of a career in music to become a minister’s wife.  Ultimately, Coretta chose to utilize her artistic gifts and singing voice for the Movement through the development and performance of Freedom Concerts. This book also charts Coretta’s own commitment and dedication, in the years that followed King’s death, to the causes of international civil rights, the antiapartheid movement, and the establishment of the King Center in Atlanta and the national King Holiday. Coretta’s devotion to activism, motherhood, and the movement led by her husband, and her courageous assumption of the legacy left in the wake of King’s untimely assassination, are wonderfully detailed in this intimate biography.

About Edythe Scott Bagley

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Edythe Scott Bagley, education pioneer, activist, and sister of Coretta Scott King, was born and raised just north of Marion, Alabama. She enrolled at Antioch College in 1943, becoming the first African American student. Bagley earned a master's degree in English from Columbia University and an MFA in theatre arts from Boston University. She taught at Albany State College in Georgia and Norfolk State University in Virginia, and in 1971 joined the faculty of Cheyney State College, where she was the leading force behind establishing the theatre and arts major. Edythe served as an active member of the board of directors for the Atlanta-based King Center from its founding in 1968. She also represented her sister as a speaker and made radio and television appearances on behalf of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. Bagley passed away in June of 2011.
Published April 12, 2012 by University Alabama Press. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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At the time, Coretta began her career as a successful singer, and from King’s first pastorship at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, to his last at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Coretta performed intermittently on stage.

Apr 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Desert Rose: The Life and Leg...

Publishers Weekly

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Penned by the late sister of Coretta Scott King, this posthumous volume offers a rudimentary retelling of the Kings' Civil Rights work, bookended by background on the Scott family and Coretta's continued commitment to social justice after the assassination of her husband in 1968.

May 07 2012 | Read Full Review of Desert Rose: The Life and Leg...

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