Civil Rights activist Edythe Scott Bagley, 86, an older sister of Coretta Scott King, died on June 11 at her Cheney, Pa. home. The late Coretta Scott King was the widow of the famous civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Bagley was an active member of the board of directors for the Atlanta-based King Center since it’s founding in 1968 and was also a retired professor of theatre arts at Cheyney University.
Bagley’s nephew, Martin Luther King III, said in a statement, she was a “vibrant, brilliant woman and always a source of strength and wisdom for our mother during the difficult challenges of the civil rights movement.”
Edythe was the second child born to Obadiah Scott and Bernice McMurray Scott on Dec. 13, 1924 in Marion, Al. An older sister, Eunice did not survive childhood. However, her younger sister, Coretta became well known for her civil rights activism. There was also a younger brother, Obadiah Leonard.
Bagley excelled in high school and in 1943, enrolled at Antioch College. Bagley transferred to Ohio State University and after graduating earned an MFA in theater arts from Boston University. She became a professor of English and Fine Arts at Cheyney State College. In addition, she served as a consultant in Black Theater at Michigan State University. In 1971, Bagley joined Cheyney’s faculty.
After Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Bagley worked with her sister Coretta to promote civil rights throughout the world. On occasion, she represented the King family at events, and made media appearances on behalf of the Center for Nonviolent Social Change.
Bagley is survived by her son Arturo, a Delaware school teacher, her brother Obadiah and several nieces and nephews. Her husband of 56 years, Arthur Bagley, died in February 2011.
Funeral services will be held on June 17 in Marion, Pa.