Coretta Scott King marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a white trench coat so bright it glowed, circular frames and a handbag secured on her forearm. Her hair was neatly styled in her signature bouffant and the expression on her face – stoic.
King never made an appearance without making a fashion statement. She never flinched. Her poised demeanor and stylish fashion sense became symbolic for the growing Black is beautiful movement that was swelling in the 50s and 60s. She represented the antithesis of how Blacks were falsely portrayed in mainstream media — poor, unkempt and aggressive. Her lady like style and sartorial flair are synonymous with her legacy as one of the most visible civil rights activists.
From her lace and tulle wedding dress to the black veil she wore to MLK’s funeral, keep scrolling for some of her most iconic fashion moments during the Civil Rights movement.
1. Coretta Scott KingSource:Getty
Coretta Scott was known for her statement head pieces, which can be traced back to her roots in the church. Here she is donning a fabulous and gravity defying feather hat.
2. Coretta Scott KingSource:Getty
Coretta Scott King, was photographed wearing a pair of cat eye sunglasses, alongside activist Fred Shuttlesworth, outside the Birmingham City Jail where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been taken after being arrested for protesting.
3. Coretta Scott KingSource:Getty
King was known for her love of flamboyant headpieces. She donned a black veil to MLK’s funeral in 1968. The image of Coretta solemnly gazing while she cradled her child is historic.
4. Coretta Scott KingSource:Getty
Coretta Scott King wore a statement broach to speak at Boston University on March 13, 1969 for their Founders’ Day ceremony.
5. Coretta Scott KingSource:Getty
In 1972, she attended the Democratic National Convention in a mustard blouse with exaggerated lapels, gold chain necklace and pearl adorned wrap.
6. Coretta Scott KingSource:Getty
After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta continued to lead the charge against racial inequality. Here she is donning a red, statement necklace and lip during a press conference with Republican John Conyers Jr.