Hours before he would be killed, Dr. Martin Luthur King Jr gave this stirring and prophectic speech in Memphis, TN, declaring his hopes and dreams of harmony for our nation.
Years later, after all has been said and done, the question remains. Are we there yet? How close is the promised land?
“I’ve Been To The Mountain Top” speech
Excerpt from “Standing in the Need of Prayer”, Coretta Scott King, as published by The Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster.
Prayer was a wellspring of strength and inspiration during the Civil Rights Movement. Throughout the movement, we prayed for greater human understanding. We prayed for
the safety of our compatriots in the freedom struggle. We prayed for victory in our nonviolent protests, for brotherhood and sisterhood among people of all races, for reconciliation and the fulfillment of the Beloved Community.
For my husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. prayer was a daily source of courage and strength that gave him the ability to carry on in even the darkest hours of our struggle.
I remember one very difficult day when he came home bone-weary from the stress that came with his leadership of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In the middle of that night, he was awakened by a threatening and abusive phone call, one of many we received throughout the movement. On this particular occasion, however, Martin had had enough.
After the call, he got up from bed and made himself some coffee. He began to worry about his family, and all of the burdens that came with our movement weighed heavily on his soul. With his head in his hands, Martin bowed over the kitchen table and prayed aloud to God: “Lord, I am taking a stand for what I believe is right. The people are looking to me for leadership, and if I stand before them without strength and courage, they will falter. I am at the end of my powers. I have nothing left. I have nothing left. I have come to the point where I can’t face it alone.
Later he told me, “At that moment, I experienced the presence of the Divine as I had never experienced Him before. It seemed as though I could hear a voice saying: ‘Stand up for righteousness; stand up for truth; and God will be at our side forever.'” When Martin stood up from the table, he was imbued with a new sense of confidence, and he was ready to face anything.
Said At Southern Podcast has clips from MLK’s speech at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on April 19, 1961, early in his civil rights mission.
How African-Americans stand 40 years after the death of Martin Luther King
Christian Science Monitor has an interesting article on the advancements of African Americans since Dr. King’s death. Among other things noted in the article, they have survey results to questions that may, or may not surprise you.
Percentage of blacks who’d like to see:
More neighborhood integration: 62 percent (versus 44 percent of whites)
More school integration: 56 percent (versus 23 percent of whites)