Women’s History Month: Elizabeth Warren and Coretta Scott King

Nevertheless She Persisted Print

The theme for Women’s History Month 2018 is Nevertheless She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The origins of that phrase, “nevertheless she persisted” can be traced to February 2017 when “Senator Elizabeth Warren was silenced during Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing for Attorney General. At the time, Warren was reading an opposition letter penned by Coretta Scott King in 1986. Referring to the incident, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell later said ‘Senator Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless she persisted.’ Feminists immediately adopted the phrase in hashtags and memes to refer to any strong women who refuse to be silenced,” (National Women’s History Project).

So it makes sense to us to start our celebration profiling both women.

Portrait of Coretta Scott King
Image credit:
Pix Inc./The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Coretta Scott King was an author, activist, civil rights leader, and the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr. Coretta Scott King helped lead the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. She was an active advocate for African-American equality. 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.

King played a prominent role in the years after her husband’s 1968 assassination when she took on the leadership of the struggle for racial equality herself and became active in the Women’s Movement, as well as later becoming active in both opposition to apartheid and advocacy for LGBT rights. She also advocated for world peace, working as a public mediator and as a liaison to peace and justice organizations. King founded the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, serving as the center’s president and chief executive, and fought to make MLK’s birthday a national holiday.

In 1970, the American Library Association began awarding a medal named for Coretta Scott King to outstanding African-American writers and illustrators of children’s literature.

Her funeral was attended by some 10,000 people, including four of five living US presidents. She was inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame and has been referred to as “First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement.”

Portrait of Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren is a politician, academic and author. She is considered one of the nation’s top experts on bankruptcy and the financial pressures facing middle class families. A prominent scholar specializing in bankruptcy law, Warren was among the most cited law professors in the field of commercial law before she began her political career.

Warren became a star member of the debate team at Northwest Classen High School and won the state high school debating championship. She also won a debate scholarship to George Washington University at the age of 16. She initially aspired to be a teacher, but left GWU after two years to marry and have two children.

Senator Warren did eventually go on to teach, and was a law professor for more than 30 years, including nearly 20 years as the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. She taught courses on commercial law, contracts, and bankruptcy and wrote more than a hundred articles and ten books, including four national best-sellers: This Fight is Our Fight, A Fighting Chance, The Two-Income Trap, and All Your Worth. She was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2009, 2010 and 2015.