The legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. looms over our nation daily. In recent years, Black creators like Ava Duvernary and Lee Daniels have worked to tell his story from different angles, and for decades Black performers have used their talents to translate the impact of the civil rights icon and his beloved wife on screens big and small. 

Interpretations of the image of King Jr. have appeared in multiple miniseries, films, and Broadway plays. So have interpretations of the stoic queen who dedicated her life to caring for him in life and death, Coretta Scott King. 

Harry Belafonte and Martin Luther King Jr. Ph Getty Images

Some focus on MLK as a foil to other social justice movements, while others focus on him as a family man fighting to balance the needs of his wife and children with his commitment to Black liberation. 

Set in different points of his tragically short life, and told from various perspectives on his actions, each portrayal attempts to shed light on the father, friend, and husband at the center of the historic headlines, and the bond that was able to withstand the weight of Cointelpro.  

Martin Luther King Jr. with John Lewis at Mass Meeting in Nashville
Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., (center) is escorted into a mass meeting at Fish University in Nashville. His colleagues are, left to right, John Lewis, national chairman of the Student Non-Violent Committee and Lester McKinnie, on of the leaders in the racial demonstrations in Nashville recently. King gave the main address to a packed crowd. (Photo by Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

A few of the most celebrated theatrical talents in our community have taken cracks at the roles throughout the years with each bringing something different to their careful portrayal of the iconic figures. 

See 15 actors who have had the privilege of playing Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King in their careers below.

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