Coretta Scott King Net Worth at Death – Salary, Income, Earnings

Coretta Scott King Net Worth

Coretta Scott King had an estimated net worth of $2 million at death. Coretta Scott King was an American civil rights activist and the wife of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. She earned most of her income from The King Centre. In 1984,  she came under criticism for having used the King Center to make money from selling merchandise. 

Coretta Scott met Martin Luther King Jr. while both were students in Boston, Massachusetts. She worked alongside King as he rose through the ranks of the civil rights movement, establishing her own distinguished career as an activist.

Coretta founded the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change after her husband was assassinated in 1968, and later successfully lobbied for his birthday to be recognized as a federal holiday.

She died of ovarian cancer complications in 2006, at the age of 78.

To calculate the net worth of Coretta Scott King, subtract all her liabilities from her total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity she has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of her net worth:


Coretta Scott King

Net Worth: $2 Million
Monthly Salary: $10 Thousand
Annual Income: $300 Thousand
Source of Wealth: Activist, Author

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Early Life

Coretta was born in Marion, Alabama on April 27, 1927. Coretta Scott King was known for her singing and violin playing as well as her civil rights activism in the early decades of her life. She attended Lincoln High School, where she graduated as valedictorian in 1945, and then went on to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in music and education in 1951.

Coretta received a fellowship to the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, where she met Martin Luther King Jr., then a doctoral student at Boston University’s School of Theology. On June 18, 1953, they married at her family’s home in Marion.

Coretta moved to Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband after earning her degree in voice and violin from NEC in 1954, where he served as pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and she oversaw the various tasks of a pastor’s wife.

Civil Rights Activist

Working alongside her husband throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Coretta participated in the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, traveled to Ghana to celebrate the country’s independence in 1957, went on a pilgrimage to India in 1959, and worked to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act, among other things.

Coretta established a distinguished career in activism in her own right, despite being best known for her work alongside her husband. She worked as a public mediator and a liaison to peace and justice organizations, among other things.

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Death of MLK

Martin Luther King Jr. was killed by a sniper’s bullet on April 4, 1968, while standing on a balcony outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Coretta led her husband’s planned march through Memphis to support striking sanitation workers four days later.

The shooter, James Earl Ray, a disgruntled drifter and former convict, was pursued for two months before being apprehended. The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. sparked riots and demonstrations in over 100 cities across the country.

Continuing the Mission After His Death

Coretta founded the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in the aftermath of her husband’s assassination, serving as president and chief executive officer from its inception.

After inspiring the establishment of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, she dedicated the new King Center complex on its grounds in 1981.

Coretta remained active through her anti-apartheid demonstrations in South Africa, as well as as a syndicated columnist and CNN contributor.

She also witnessed the culmination of her husband’s 15-year struggle for formal recognition of his birthday in 1983, when President Ronald Reagan signed legislation making Martin Luther King Day a federal holiday.

Coretta left the King Center to her son Dexter in 1995, but she remained in the public eye. She requested a retrial for her husband’s alleged assassin in 1997, but Ray died in prison the following year.


In August 2005, Coretta suffered a heart attack and a stroke. She died on January 30, 2006, less than six months later, while seeking treatment for ovarian cancer at a clinic in Playas de Rosarito, Mexico. She was 78 years old at the time.

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Coretta’s funeral was held on February 7, 2006, at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia, with daughter Bernice King eulogizing her mother. The eight-hour televised service at the megachurch drew over 14,000 people, including US Presidents George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton, as well as the majority of their wives. Senator Barack Obama was also present.

Personal Life

Coretta King, author of My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. (1969), had four children with King: Yolanda Denise (1955-2007), Martin Luther III (b. 1957), Dexter Scott (b. 1961), and Bernice Albertine (b. 1963). The surviving children administer the King Center and their father’s estate.

Further Reading

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