Memorial garden honoring Coretta Scott King dedicated in Edgewater

King's daughter tells crowd that garden is 'ensuring that generations are going to know this incredible woman'

  • Annapolis mayor Josh Cohen tours the new Coretta Scott King Memorial Garden at Sojourner-Douglas College following the dedication ceremonies.
Annapolis mayor Josh Cohen tours the new Coretta Scott King… (Algerina Perna, Baltimore…)
April 28, 2011|By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun

The creation of a memorial garden to honor Coretta Scott King will ensure "that generations are going to know this incredible woman," King's daughter told a crowd of hundreds Thursday.

"The extraordinary thing about Coretta Scott King was that before she met Martin Luther King Jr., she was already on a mission to change the face of America," Bernice A. King told those assembled in Edgewater for the unveiling of the memorial.

Her mother, who died in 2006 at the age of 84, had been an activist before marrying the civil rights leader and became his greatest fan, greatest adviser and greatest supporter, she said. After he was slain in 1968, she continued her advocacy for civil and human rights and established the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta.

People who attended the program said seeing and hearing Bernice King speak emotionally about her mother and express the family's gratitude for the memorial brought home the importance of Coretta Scott King's legacy.

Organizers of the privately funded project at Sojourner-Douglass College said they believe the garden is the first public memorial to King in the country apart from her gravesite. The project was led by Carl O. Snowden, a longtime activist who is now director of the office of civil rights at the Maryland attorney general's office.

More than 300 people packed a multipurpose area and hallways of the college, as the program was held indoors because of rain. Among them were civil rights advocates from around the region and a delegation from Ghana, the nation whose 1957 independence ceremonies the Kings had attended. But the sun came out just before it was time for the official opening of the garden, allowing visitors to walk through it.

Sabrina Grover of Shady Side said she attended the ceremony on a last-minute whim. "I'm definitely glad I skipped the gym," she said.

The "living memorial," with a pergola and places to sit amid trees, shrubs and flowers, was designed to be an inspirational place for visitors to reflect on the civil rights movement and the continuing struggle for human rights. The word "embrace" is carvedon the raised stone planter to signify the garden's theme of inclusiveness, organizers said.

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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