The story of Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King, covering the hospital expenses for the birth of Julia Roberts has been a revelation to many, but it was only the beginning of a connection between the actress and social causes.
The “Ticket to Paradise” star has long used her platform to champion philanthropic work and amplify the rights of people of color.
In 2020, Roberts shared a viral post on his verified Instagram in which he called for the “privilege as a white person” to do the things that black people have come into contact with the authorities for, such as observing birds, playing loud music or having a mobile phone. .
This should come as no surprise to those who know the history of their parents’ friendship with the King family.
It was reported in a 2002 CNN interview that Walter and Betty Roberts ran a writing and acting workshop, where the King children were enrolled.
Theirs was the only integrated children’s theater group in Atlanta during the 1960s.
“Mr. Roberts was so imposing. I loved him, but he also intimidated me a little bit,” Yolanda King told CNN. “And he taught me a lot and — him and Ms. Roberts — about work and just about living and being really open and taking life and making the best of it.”
According to biographer Joyce Wagner, the workshop struggled and eventually closed.
But her daughter still developed a passion to act and speak out for justice.
This has not always gone well.
She was new to superstardom in 1990, thanks to the hit movie “Pretty Woman,” when the Smyrna, Georgia native angered residents of Abbeville, South Carolina by referring to the town as ” horribly racist’ and a ‘living hell’. .”
According to an August 1990 article published by the Los Angeles Times, Roberts had been in the area filming the movie “Sleeping With the Enemy” and told Rolling Stone magazine of an incident when he said that in his friend, who was black, was denied service. at a restaurant in Abbeville.
Residents rallied to run an ad in Variety under the headline “Pretty Woman? Pretty Low.”
“Are there racists here?” the ad read. “Maybe some, as there are around the world. But they don’t define us.”
Roberts released a statement at the time saying, “I was born in the South, so I am in no way trying to create a stereotype.”