ATLANTA — Edythe Scott Bagley, the older sister of Coretta Scott King, died in her Pennsylvania home, the family said Sunday. She was 86.
Bagley died at her home in Cheney, Pa. Around 7 a.m. Saturday, said Martin Luther King III, her nephew. She had been an active member of the board of directors for the Atlanta-based King Center since it was founded in 1968 and was also a retired professor of theatre arts at Cheyney University.
“Our Aunt Edythe 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,” said King. “We will miss her dearly, and she leaves a great void in the hearts of our family and her many friends and colleagues.”
Bagley was born in Marion, Ala., on Dec. 13, 1924, and excelled in school, eventually earning a scholarship in 1943 to Antioch College. She transferred to Ohio State University and after graduating taught students in Alabama and North Carolina.
After Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, Bagley worked with her sister, Martin’s widow, to promote civil rights. She occasionally represented Coretta Scott King at events, and made radio and TV appearances on behalf of the Center for Nonviolent Social Change.
In 1971, she joined Cheyney’s faculty and was charged with developing a theatre arts major. The program was approved in 1980.
She is survived by her son Arturo, who is teaching at a Delaware school, a brother and several nieces and nephews. Arthur Bagley, her husband of 56 years, died in February 2011.
The funeral will be June 17 at 1 p.m. in West Chester, Pa. Her family is also planning a memorial service celebrating her life in July in Marion.