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The old adage is certainly true, ‘behind every good man, stands a good woman’; and while we modern day ‘feministas’ would prefer to remix the saying to ‘beside every good man, stands a good woman’, these women still made history from behind the iconic men in their lives. Their passion to correct civil injustices may have been publicly carried out by their well known husbands, but it was evident before and after their husbands’ death that they were a driving force behind their men.

Coretta Scott King

The widow of iconic Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta was a driving force in the civil rights movement in the 60’s. A trained singer, she gave up her future in music to follow her husband and assist with his movement. After Dr. King’s assassination in 1968 Coretta became heavily involved in the Women’s Movement.

Dr. King is quoted as saying: “I am indebted to my wife Coretta, without whose love, sacrifices, and loyalty neither life nor work would bring fulfillment. She has given me words of consolation when I needed them and a well-ordered home where Christian love is a reality.”

Coretta Scott King died on January 30, 2006.

Betty Shabazz

The wife of Malcolm X, Betty Shabazz (also known as Betty X), was frustrated with racism as a young girl and soon began working with her soon to be husband after moving to New York City.

After her husband’s assassination in 1965, Shabazz earned her doctorate in 1975 and became an associate professor of health sciences at Medgar Evers College in 1976. In addition to raising her six daughters after her husband’s death, Shabazz worked hard to keep her husband’s legacy alive.

She died in 1997 after her grandson set flames to their home. She suffered third-degree burns, resulting in her death.

Myrlie Evers-Williams

Myrlie Evers-Williams is the wife of civil rights activist Medgar Evers. She worked tirelessly to seek justice for the brutal murder of her husband in 1963. Later she ran for state of California Congress and actively participated in the NAACP. She has also published several books and spoke at various events regarding civil rights and her husband’s legacy.

She later remarried but continues to fight for civil injustices.

Winnie Mandela

Although her marriage to South African activist, Nelson Mandela, may have ended rocky, in the beginning stages Winnie Mandela assisted her husband in becoming a pivotal figure in South African politics.

Even after her divorce to Nelson Mandela in 1996, Winnie has gone on to become a controversial activist, even being considered ‘Mother of the Nation’ by many of her supporters.

Read More “Ladies of Leaders: The Amazing Women Behind Our History Makers” On: MadameNoire