“We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence …” stated Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Civil Rights March on Washington, Aug. 28, 1963.
Martin Luther King Jr. continued: “I have a dream … 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 brothers. … This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning,
‘My country ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the Pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountainside,
Let freedom ring.’”
The song that Martin Luther King Jr., recited, “My country ’tis of thee,” was written by Samuel Francis Smith, who died Nov. 16, 1895. (–from Family Research Council)
I believe Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. was the greatest political activist in my life time. I was 13 when he made his famous “I have a dream” speech. He was all about non-violent social change, but he was all for social change and the reconciliation of all men to all men, whatever their color.
I believe Dr. King would be dismayed at the current political activism that promotes violence and intimidation. That’s not what he believed in, and he would not condone it.
He said “But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.”
I say that these words are not just for the black people, but white people, and people of all races: “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred…”
“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.“”
(If you haven’t read his entire speech, go here.)
Dr. King realized perhaps more than anyone that we are all in this together. That sounds so cliche’, but it is so true. He was years ahead of conventional wisdom, and his vision surely came from God, and his desire from love of his fellow man.
Yes, he stood at the forefront of the civil rights movement, as a black leader who spoke for black people everywhere. But he did not exclude white people or anyone because of their race, but he wished for and encouraged social change for the betterment of black people and for America. He understood then the implications of the manipulation of black people by government parties today.
If we had another Dr. King embodied in a black leader with the same courage and faith and spirit today who believed in a better America, a great America, an America without racism, without prejudice, where “created equal” was really believed, we would be blessed.
Here’s the thing when it comes to racism: We all need to get over ourselves. We are who we are because God ordained it– we didn’t choose it. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. God does not look at the color of our skin, He looks at our soul.
We have no right to do any different with our fellow man.