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King was inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 2009.

She was the first African-American to lie in State in the Georgia State Capitol upon her death.

Her older sister Edythe already attended Antioch as part of the Antioch Program for Interracial Education, which recruited non-white students and gave them full scholarships in an attempt to diversify the historically white campus.

As a self-taught reader with little formal education, he is noted for having inspired Coretta's passion for education. Jeff Scott was a farmer and a prominent figure in the rural black religious community; he was born to former slaves Willis and Delia Scott.Coretta's paternal grandparents were Cora (née Mc Laughlin; 1876 – 1920) and Jefferson F. Coretta described herself as a tomboy during her childhood, primarily because she could climb trees and recalled wrestling boys.Coretta quoted her mother as having said, "My children are going to college, even if it means I only have but one dress to put on." The Scott children attended a one room elementary school 5 miles (8 km) from their home and were later bused to Lincoln Normal School, which despite being 9 mi (14 km) from their home, was the closest black high school in Marion, Alabama, due to racial segregation in schools.The bus was driven by Coretta's mother Bernice, who bused all the local black teenagers.King met her husband while in college, and their participation escalated until they became central to the movement.

In her early life, Coretta was an accomplished singer, and she often incorporated music into her civil rights work.She became active in the nascent civil rights movement; she joined the Antioch chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the college's Race Relations and Civil Liberties Committees.The board denied her request to perform her second year of required practice teaching at Yellow Springs public schools, for her teaching certificate Coretta Scott appealed to the Antioch College administration, which was unwilling or unable to change the situation in the local school system and instead employed her at the college's associated laboratory school for a second year.Coretta's mother became known for her musical talent and singing voice.As a child Bernice attended the local Crossroads School and only had a fourth grade education. Scott worked as a school bus driver, a church pianist, and for her husband in his business ventures.He also owned a lumber mill, which was burned down by white neighbors after Scott refused to lend his mill to a white male logger Mollie was born a slave to plantation owner Jim Blackburn and Adeline (Blackburn) Smith.