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Monday, 18 January 2010

It's MLK Day

Nearly 20 years ago, I participated in the local celebration of Martin L. King, Jr.'s birthday. I prepared to deliver his "I have a dream" speech, but was stricken from the program, I suspect because I wasn't black enough. At any rate, in celebration of the day, here are some ongoing quotes from the late racial rights leader--who, it should be noted, was born as Michael King and began his public life as M. L. King, and was actually the father of a son named Martin Luther King III for most of his celebrity.Therefore while Martin Luther King, Jr. is the name by which he is universally known, it was never more than a stage name.

Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber.
There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission—a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for “the brotherhood of man.” This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances; but even if it were not present, I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I’m speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men—for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the One who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the Vietcong or to Castro or to Mao, as a faithful minister of this One? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?

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