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King Was 'Ambassador For Peaceful Way Of Life,' Ex-UNC Professor Says

Posted February 1, 2006

— As the nation mourns the death of Coretta Scott King, a retired UNC-Chapel Hill professor -- and King family friend -- reflects on the her life, legacy and marriage to a civil rights icon.

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    "We would have long conversations," said Chuck Stone, a former professor at the Unviersity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication. "She called me so often, my daughter one time picked up the phone and said, 'Oh, it's Coretta Scott King.'"

    Stone remembers two different sides to the widow of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. There was the young woman who dreamed of becoming a singing sensation, and there was the wife, mother and widow who became an ambassador for her larger-than-life husband.

    When asked what the Kings' marriage was like, Stone said, "It was just like anyone else. There were weaknesses. What's an ideal marriage anyway? An ideal marriage is a dull marriage."

    Stone said their life together was anything but dull -- and far from perfect.

    "Martin had some 'extracurricular activities,' and when J. Edgar Hoover bugged his room looking for communists, he was shocked to learn the people in his room weren't communists, but women," said Stone. "I think people would be surprised to know how much she knew and had to endure."

    When asked how he wants Mrs. King to be remembered, Stone said, "I want her to be remembered as a strong African-American woman, a good wife and an ambassador for a peaceful way of life."

    Condolence books and cards for the King family will be available to the public at the front lobby of the First Baptist Church on South Wilmington Street in downtown Raleigh. The remarks will be delivered to the King family before the funeral.

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