NBC News and news services
updated 2/1/2006 1:58:19 PM ET 2006-02-01T18:58:19

Comments by friends and admirers of Coretta Scott King, the widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., following her death on Tuesday:

  • President Bush: “Mrs. King was a remarkable and courageous woman, and a great civil rights leader. She carried on the legacy of her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., including through her extraordinary work at the King Center. Mrs. King’s lasting contributions to freedom and equality have made America a better and more compassionate nation.”
  • Rev. Al Sharpton: “She was truly the first lady of the human rights movement. The only thing worse than losing her is if we never had her.”
  • Poet Maya Angelou: “It’s a bleak morning for me and for many people and yet it’s a great morning because we have a chance to look at her and see what she did and who she was. It’s bleak because I can’t — many of us can’t hear her sweet voice — but it’s great because she did live, and she was ours. I mean African-Americans and white Americans and Asians, Spanish-speaking — she belonged to us and that’s a great thing.”
  • Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass: “Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King awakened the conscience of a nation that began the journey toward equality, knocking down the walls of discrimination based on race, on religion, and on ethnicity. We have all benefited so much from their inspiration and their leadership.”
  • Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.: “We will miss her. But she certainly picked up the baton when it was dropped by her husband’s assassination and continued to move forward in the civil rights arena.” 
  • Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman: “When the voice of the movement was tragically silenced, the wife of the fallen leader took up his cause and marched forward. Coretta Scott King shared her husband’s dream for an America where their children ’will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
  • Rev. Joseph Lowery, a co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference: "She wore her grief with grace; she exerted her leadership with dignity.”
  • Activist-comedian Dick Gregory: “The great thing I have is every year for Christmas and birthday I get a birthday card from her. I look forward to Christmas. I look forward to my birthday, because of that. I just love her. You cannot look at her face and tell what she has been through.”
  • Georgia state Rep. Tyrone Brooks: “Mrs. King will be known around the world as her own great leader. I’m just so happy now that she can join her husband Martin.”
  • President Carter: "Rosalynn and I are saddened to learn of the death of Coretta Scott King. A partner with her husband as he fought for equality for his people, throughout her life Mrs. King has been a mainstay of the movement for nonviolent political change. She was a strong, caring and inspirational woman, whose legacy will be remembered for generations to come. Our prayers are with her family and friends in this time of grief."

NBC News, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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