His speeches gave light and motivation to generations
By Opio Lumumba Sokoni
The Florida/Georgia Star
Dr. King made it a point to talk about three issues – poverty, racism and violence. His words and deeds as the head of the Montgomery Improvement Association and the SCLC after that used these issues as a base. We must know that the March on
Washington was about Jobs and freedom. Economics, he thought was germane to our advancement. But he did not think that money alone was enough. Below are words taken from his speeches of which made it possible for Barack Obama to exist as the President of the United States several decades after King’s death. We salute Dr. King as we provide readers with just a few of a mountain of great words from a man martyred because he decided to act on his beliefs.
Quotes from King’s Speeches
To the Montgomery Improvement Association (circa 1955)
“Right here in Montgomery, when the history books are written in the future, somebody will have to say, ‘There lived a race of people, a black people, “fleecy locks and black complexion.’’ a people who had the moral courage to stand up for their rights.
And thereby they injected a new meaning into the veins of history and of civilization.’ And we’re gonna do that. God grant that we will do it before it is too late.”
Love your Enemies Speech: Sermon given at the Dexter Baptist Church November 17, 1957
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the
truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out
darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the March on Washington, August 28, 1963
In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now.
King’s last speech given April 3, 1968, a day before his assassination
“We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now because I’ve been to the mountaintop…I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people
will get to the promised land.”