Coretta Scott King Thanked Jeff Sessions in 2000 Speech-Mostly Fiction! 

Summary of eRumor:

Coretta Scott King, the late wife of Martin Luther King Jr., thanked then-Senator Jeff Session during a speech for the 2000 dedication of the Rosa Parks Library in Alabama.

The Truth:

Corretta Scott King acknowledged Jeff Sessions in a 2000 speech — but King didn’t specifically thank or praise Sessions.

Connections between Corretta Scott King and Jeff Sessions emerged in early 2017 during Senate confirmation hearings for Sessions to serve as Attorney General in the Trump administration. During the hearings, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts read a letter that King wrote in opposition to President Reagan appointing Sessions to a federal court in 1986:

I write to express my sincere opposition to the confirmation of Jefferson B. Sessions as a federal district court judge for the Souther District of Alabama. My professional and personal roots in Alabama are deep and lasting. Anyone who has used the power of his office as United States Attorney to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens should not be elevated to our courts. Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters. for this reprehensible conduct, he should not be rewarded with a federal judgeship. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky evoked Rule 19, an obscure Senate rule that essentially prevents one senator from criticizing another senator’s record on the Senate floor. Warren succeeded in publicizing Corretta Scott King’s earlier accusations that Jeff Sessions had used his power as a U.S. Attorney to deny voting rights to black citizens through intimidation — but the website True Pundit claimed days later that King had actually “thanked” Sessions during a speech in 2000.

The True Pundit story appeared under the headline, “SHATTERED: Video of Coretta Scott King Thanking Jeff Sessions for Rosa Parks Library Crushes Elizabeth Warren Racial Stunt,” that claimed Corretta Scott King’s 2000 speech disproved the theory that she viewed Jeff Sessions as a racist or a bigot:

Well, that was quick. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s racial stunt that sparked her removal from the senate floor Tuesday night proved even shorter than her time living in a teepee.

Warren attempted to use the words of Coretta Scott King, the widow of slain civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr., to smear Sen. Jeff Sessions’ bid for Attorney General. Warren’s now warrant-less claim was that King’s wife’s words framed Sessions as a bigot.

But now a more recent video has surfaced where Coretta King in fact praises Sessions at the launching of the Rosa Parks Library and Museum.

In a video of Corretta Scott King’s address at the dedication of the Rosa Parks Library and Museum in Alabama, she beings by acknowledging the elected officials and distinguished guests in attendances — including Jeff Sessions:

To President Martindale, to Senator Sessions, Mayor Bright, Troy State Chancellor, Jack Hawkins Jr., Dr. Dorothy Height, Ms. Johnnie Carr, Juanita Abernathy, Mammie Till-Mobley, to all of the distinguished program participants and guests in this audience today, it’s a great honor and a privilege for me to join you in celebrating the grand opening of the Rosa Parks Library and Museum.

Corretta Scott King acknowledged Jeff Sessions presence, and she called it a “great honor and a privilege” to join Sessions (and others) in the grand opening of the library and museum — but she didn’t “thank” him. That’s why we’re calling this one “mostly fiction.”