Coretta Scott Enrolls At Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio
Wanting a better life for their children, the Scotts sent all three to college.
Coretta, who graduated at the top of her high school class in 1945, won a scholarship to study elementary education and music at to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She matriculated in 1945 and was one of only three African Americans in her class; the future jurist A. Leon Higginbotham was one of the others. Scott was active in extracurricular activities, especially in projects designed to improve race relations. She joined the college chapter of the NAACP and performed onstage at Antioch with Paul Robeson, the actor, singer, and activist, who encouraged her to pursue a musical career.
Scott studied piano and the violin, but focused on singing. She gave her first solo concert in 1948 and graduated with a BA from Antioch in Music Education three years later, in 1951.
Scott King graduated valedictorian of Lincoln Normal School in 1945 and enrolled at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Edythe Scott already attended Antioch as part of the Antioch Program for Interracial Education, which recruited non-white students and gave them full scholarships in an attempt to diversify the historically white campus. Coretta said of her first college:
Antioch had envisioned itself as a laboratory in democracy, but had no black students. (Edythe) became the first African American to attend Antioch on a completely integrated basis, and was joined by two other black female students in the fall of 1943. Pioneering is never easy, and all of us who followed my sister at Antioch owe her a great debt of gratitude.
Coretta studied music with Walter Anderson, the first non-white chair of an academic department in a historically white college. Scott King also became politically active, due largely to her experience of racial discrimination by the local school board. She became active in the nascent civil rights movement; she joined the Antioch chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the college's Race Relations and Civil Liberties Committees. The board denied her request to perform her second year of required practice teaching at Yellow Springs public schools, for her teaching certificate Scott King appealed to the Antioch College administration, which was unwilling or unable to change the situation in the local school system and instead employed her at the college's associated laboratory school for a second year.
Although Antioch enjoyed a liberal reputation, Scott found that it was not immune to racial discrimination. When she applied to practice as a student teacher, the music department required that she do so at an all-black school system near the campus. The school district in which all other Antioch students did their practice work had no black teachers, and the college administration did not wish to upset the racial status quo in conservative southern Ohio by sending an African American student to teach there. Coretta Scott protested this Jim Crow policy to the office of the college president, but the president refused to support her request. She subsequently agreed to do her internship at the demonstration school on campus.