Luther King, Jr. Day
Words to remember – and to
live! – from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
from Martin Luther King, Jr. (and lots of others, too) are gathered
on the ProgressiveValues
website of Phyllis Stenerson, of Minneapolis, MN
"We must move forward
in the days ahead with audacious faith. The moral arc of the
universe is long but it bends toward justice."
comes when silence is betrayal. Even when pressed by the demands of
inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their
government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human
spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of
conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding
Some of us who have
already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the
calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We
must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited
vision, but we must speak. For we are deeply in need of a new way
beyond the darkness that seems so close around us....
We must move past
indecision to action. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged
down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for
those who possess power without compassion, might without morality,
and strength without sight. Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate
ourselves in the long and bitter, but beautiful struggle for a new
from "Beyond Vietnam" - an address delivered to
the Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam, at Riverside
Church, New York City on April 4, 1967
For more quotations from King >>
|If you have thoughts about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
or commentary from other people, that you'd like to share here, just
send 'em along!
I'll post them just as soon as I can.
Economic equality was a part of Martin Luther
King Jr.'s dream
writes in the Mercury News that while Martin Luther King
is remembered and celebrated most as the great leader of the movement for
civil rights, he was killed in Memphis, where he was supporting the labor
struggle of black sanitation workers to move into the middle class.
But 44 years later,
economic justice remains elusive for many Americans. While poverty
gradually declined in the decades since King's death -- 32.4 million
Americans lived below the threshold in 1986, the year the King holiday
was first celebrated -- the numbers have climbed in recent years as the
Today, as the nation
celebrates MLK Day for the 27th time, 46.2 million of its people have
slid into the misery that King spent his final years fighting, with
blacks experiencing the highest rate of any group: 27 percent.
"I'm sure that would
cause him anguish," said Taylor Branch, author of America in the King
Years, the Pulitzer Prize-winning trilogy that spans King's
transformation from preacher to prophet. "But he never spoke of poverty
in purely racial terms. King said poverty is no respecter of persons or
And for more detailed
thoughts on the links between the thoughts, words and actions of MLK
and our current economic troubles,
click here for “Today's Visionary: An Illustrated Guide To Dr. King's
21st Century Insights.” This brief essay by Richard (RJ) Eskow connects
statements by King to specific economic data and issues of today.
One year ago I listed ten
quotes by Dr. King, and mourned the lack of a movement that would
advance his kind of vision. Then came the uprising in Madison and the
Occupy movement, which began a long-overdue national debate about
economic, as well as racial inequality.
Once again, Dr. King's
insights provide offer insight and vision for today's movement activists
- and tomorrow's.
"I Have a Dream" Litany
Luther King, Jr. Day
One: In 1963, Martin
Luther King, Jr. said, "I have a dream... I have a dream that my four
children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the
color of their skin but by the content of their character."
ALL: We have a
dream that all children will live in a world where they will not be judged
by the color of their skin, gender, ethnicity, disability or sexual
orientation but by the content of their character.
One: "I have a
dream that one day the state of Alabama ... will be transformed into a
situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands
with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and
have a dream that one day little Protestant boys and girls will be able to
join hands with little Catholic boys and girls in Northern Ireland; that
little Jewish boys and girls and little Palestinian boys and girls will be
able to join hands in the Holy Land; that little Christian boys and girls
will be able to join hands with little Muslim boys and girls everywhere and
walk together as sisters and brothers.
"I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and
frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream... (that one day) all of
God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, 'My country, 'tis of
thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my (parents) died,
land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.'"
Let freedom ring from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem!
freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!"
Let freedom ring from the Antrim Coast cliffs of Northern Ireland!
"Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!"
Let freedom ring from the sandhills of the Sudan!
freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every
mountainside, let freedom ring."
"When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every
hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that
day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles,
Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words
of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty,
we are free at last!'"
(V. Moss, adapted from Martin Luther
King, Jr.'s 1963 March on Washington speech)
Luther King you don't see
Dear Editor:’t See" on TV. It is
significant that while we are usually only exposed to perfunctory network
news we are totally missing the last years of his life. What we hear and
read about is his battle for desegregation in Birmingham (1963); reciting
his dream of racial harmony at the rally in Washington (1963); marching for
voting rights in Selma, Alabama (1965); and finally lying dead on the motel
balcony in Memphis (1968).
Ten years ago Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon wrote "The Martin Luther King
What happened in the years from 1965 to 1968 when he was speaking and
organizing as diligently as ever? Most of those speeches were filmed or
taped, but why are they not shown today?
In the early 1960s, when Dr. King focused his challenge on legalized racial
discrimination in the South, most major media were his allies. But after the
passage of civil rights acts in 1964 and 1965, King began challenging the
nation’s fundamental priorities. He maintained
that civil rights laws were empty without "human
rights" –including economic rights. King said
anti-discrimination laws were hollow for people too poor to eat at a
restaurant or afford a decent home.
So why do we not hear about his Beyond Vietnam speech in 1967 when King
called the United States "the greatest purveyor of
violence in the world today?" Why do we
still not hear that the U.S. "was on the wrong
side of a world revolution?" He questioned the
U.S. suppression of instead of the supporting for revolutions "of
the shirtless and barefoot people" in the Third
World. In foreign policy, King offered an economic critique, complaining
about "capitalists of the West investing in the
Third World only to take the profits out with no concern for the social
betterment of those countries."
Well the media did know about King’s
activities but Time, The Washington Post and others denounced
his initiatives including his organizing of the Poor People’s
Campaign to get Congress to enact a poor people’s
bill of rights. He saw the need to confront Congress’
hostility to the poor while generously
funding the military.
How familiar that sounds today with most mass media, Congress and the White
House still accepting the perpetuation of poverty.
St. Petersburg, FL
Some blogs worth visiting
Mitch Trigger, PVJ's
Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where
Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and
views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both
personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!
You can post your own news and views,
or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.
for Life" website
Long-time and stimulating blogger John Shuck,
a Presbyterian minister currently
serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton,
Tenn., writes about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized
and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and
Click here for his blog posts.
Click here for podcasts of his radio program, which "explores
the intersection of religion, social justice and public life."
John Harris’ Summit to
Theological and philosophical
reflections on everything between summit to shore, including
kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology,
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New York City and the Queens
neighborhood of Ridgewood -- by a progressive New York City
Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the Witherspoon
board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian Church in
Voices of Sophia blog
Heather Reichgott, who has created
this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:
After fifteen years of scholarship
and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the
voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy,
students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers
and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God
in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God
through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through
articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and
Got more blogs to recommend?
send a note, and we'll see what we can do!