Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dr. King in Boston . 5

Continued from Dr. King in Boston . 4.

Personally, meanwhile, King was waging a concerted campaign to marry. Having decided upon a career in the ministry as a Baptist pastor, at least temporarily, he needed to get married. In the black church of the time, and even today, an unmarried pastor was unacceptable. Marriage was a must. The pastor's wife was considered a pillar of the church and a gurantee of the pastor's stability and good character. Ministry without marriage, and marriage without children, was unheard of.

Imperious Daddy King, intent on ML joining him after graduation and eventually succeeding him at Ebenezer, had been forcefully pressing the marriage issue for some time. His plan had been to match Martin with a suitable member of elite Negro society in Atlanta, but the many attempts had all gone awry.

King, although often in conflict with his father, felt a deep connection with his family. He frequently called home, collect, to chat for two or three hours, mostly with his mother, describing every detail of his days - including his dates. The pressure was on to find a wife, both from within and without.

Coretta Scott King - in a 2003 telephone interview with a Boston Globe reporter - described meeting an eager Martin - over the phone - after her number was slipped to him by a mutual friend.

The truth is, Martin and I met on the telephone.

He said, 'I like the way you talk, and I'd like to meet you.' We agreed to meet for lunch the next day at Sharaf's on Massachusetts Avenue, and he said, 'I usually make it in 10 minutes, but tomorrow, I'll make it in 7.'

On our first date he deliberately asked a question that had to do with capitalism versus communism. ... I remember I made an intelligent comment, and he said, 'Oh, I see you know something other than music.' I thought, of course I did. I was a graduate of Antioch College. I had thoughts of my own.

He said, You know, you have everything I ever wanted in a wife: intelligence, beauty, character, and personality. When can I see you again? I said I really didn't know because I had a tight schedule.

... he ways always trying to convince me I was it ... but I kept struggling with my own ambitions for a long time. I knew getting married would lead me away from performing and the direction I'd hoped to go.

We got married in 1953, and the rest is history. When I finally opened myself up to the relationship, I knew this was my direction.

To be continued.

Image ... Coretta Scott. Antioch College class photo.

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