The story of Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King covering hospital costs for the birth of Julia Roberts was a revelation to many, but it was just the start 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 calling the “privilege as a white person” to do the things black people came into contact with authorities about, including bird watching, playing loud music and/or have a cell phone.
This should come as no surprise to those familiar with the story of her 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.
It was the only integrated children’s theater group in Atlanta in the 1960s.
“Mr. Roberts was so imposing. I loved him, but I was also a little intimidated by him,” Yolanda King told CNN. “And he taught me so much and – him and Mrs. Roberts – about work and about life and being open, seizing life and making the most of it.”
According to biographer Joyce Wagner, the workshop struggled and eventually closed.
But their daughter has always developed a passion for the theater and for defending justice.
It didn’t always go 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, for calling the town a ‘horribly racist’ and a ‘living hell’. .”
According to an August 1990 article published by the Los Angeles Times, Roberts had traveled to the area to film the movie “Sleeping With the Enemy” and told Rolling Stone Magazine of an incident when she said her friend, who was black, had been refused service. in a restaurant in Abbeville.
Residents gathered to run an ad in Variety under the headline “Pretty Woman? Relatively low.”
“Are there any racists here? the ad read. “Perhaps some, as there are all over the world. But they don’t define us.
Roberts released a statement at the time saying, “I was born in the South, so I’m in no way trying to create a stereotype.”