Tale of Two Women
updated 06/22/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 06/22/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT
For the widows of the slain men, the horror was agonizingly personal. With scarcely time to mourn, they took the reins of their distraught families and, in their distinctive ways, fought to keep alive their husbands' ideals. Coretta Scott King assumed an exhausting schedule of speeches and public appearances; Ethel Kennedy often chose to work behind the scenes, sponsoring a wide network of charities while trying to manage a family touched by loss and, occasionally, scandal. Though neither has escaped controversy, each has, many believe, triumphed in her less public role—as a mother. "I think the world owes both these Women an incredible debt of gratitude," says Andrew Young, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a friend of both families, "that these children grew up with no bitterness and no hatred—all of them believers in what their parents stood for." What follows is the story of two vigilant and remarkable women.