Desert Rose details Coretta Scott King's upbringing in a family of proud, land-owning African Americans with a profound devotion to the ideals of social equality and the values of education, as well as her later role as her husband's most trusted confidant and advisor.
Edythe Scott Bagley, education pioneer, activist, and sister of Coretta Scott King, was born and raised just north of Marion, Alabama. She enrolled at Antioch College in 1943, becoming the first African American student. Bagley earned a master's degree in English from Columbia University and an MFA in theatre arts from Boston University. She taught at Albany State College in Georgia and Norfolk State University in Virginia, and in 1971 joined the faculty of Cheyney State College, where she was the leading force behind establishing the theatre and arts major. Edythe served as an active member of the board of directors for the Atlanta-based King Center from its founding in 1968. She also represented her sister as a speaker and made radio and television appearances on behalf of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. Bagley passed away in June of 2011.