April 4, 2008

Dr. King

This is one of my favorite passages from King, on this the 40th anniversary of his death:
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth."
- Martin Luther King Jr., from his speech "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence 
You can read/listen to the whole thing here.  It was, I just realized, given on April 4, 1967 - exactly one year before his assassination.  King's writings and rhetoric from his later years don't get quite as much attention as do those of his earlier, but some of my favorite remarks come from this period.  His focus was expanding from civil rights to more broadly include issues of peace and wide sweeping social justice - themes that were always there but which grew more prominent in the final years of his life.  The continued power of his oratory-even 40 years removed - surprises me every time I read him.

No comments:

Blog Archive