The Autobiography of Martin Luther King: Chapters 21-24
After the “I have a dream” speech and the shifting of southern laws to create equality, one would believe that peace would show its dominance, but there was soon a church bombing that killed four young girls.
“So, they have something to say to us in their deaths. They have something to say to every minister of the Gospel who has remained silent behind the safe security of the stained-glass windows. They have something to say to every politician who has fed his constituents the stale bread of hatred and the spoiled meat of racism. They have something to the federal government that has compromised with the undemocratic practices of Southern Dixiecrats and the blatant hypocrisy of right-wing Northern Republicans. They have something to say to the Negro who passively accepts the evil system of segregation and stands on the sidelines in the midst of a mighty struggle for justice………..The death of these little children may lead our whole Southland from the low road of man's inhumanity to man to the high road of peace and brotherhood………The spilt blood of these innocent girls may cause the whole citizenry of Birmingham to transform the negative extremes of a dark past into the positive extremes of a bright future. Indeed, this tragic event may cause the white south to come to terms with its conscience.” (Pg. 231-232)
This is definitely some food for thought in the world that we are living in. Are we just sitting there with our mouths shut pretending not to see the wicked things are happening around us or are we willing to stand and make a change?
Due to his work throughout the years, King was notified that he was receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. When he heard this, he did not know how to take the news, until he sat and pondered it for a while:
“Members of ground crew would not win the Nobel Peace Prize. Their names would not go down in history. They were unknown soldiers in the second great American Revolution. Yet, when years rolled past and when the blazing light of truth is focused on this marvelous age which we are now living-men and women will know and children will be taught that we have a finer land, a better people, and more nobel civilization-because of the ground crew which made possible the jet flight to the clear skies of brotherhood. On December 10 in Oslo, I would receive-for the ground crew-a significant symbol, which is not for me, really. (Pg.257)
While giving his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize, King had this to say:
"I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men. I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.” (Pg.260)
This shows King's desire to keep pressing forward with his goal towards a world that revolves around inequality yet it shows a generation's drive to fight for the equality of people. I believe that this quote also shows that true justice can not die. We are daily given the opportunity to lift up the hurting and the oppressed around us.
“Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have concern for 'the least of these.' Deeply etched in the fiber of our religious tradition is the conviction that men are made in the image of God and that they are souls of infinite metaphorical value, the heirs of a legacy of dignity and worth. If we feel this as a profound moral fact, we cannot be content to see men hungry, to see men victimized with starvation and ill health when we have the means to help them.” (Pg 261
Anthony K. Giesick
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