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Dr. King Speaks At Rally

Source: Robert Abbott Sengstacke / Getty

This is the forty eighth year since Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated during the tumultuous 1960’s. He lived for justice and died for justice. In his 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial he said in part:

“[W]e’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we’ve 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…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; a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’ But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.”

His words that day had a dramatic effect that placed injustice in the spotlight. He stated his case to free his people from “the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination” much like Moses summoned Egypt’s Pharaoh with “let my people go.”

On April 3, 1968 in Memphis – the night before Dr. King died – when he delivered that very moving speech in support of the striking sanitation workers, he was still talking about injustice. He told the audience, “[L]et us keep the issues where they are. The issue is injustice. The issue is the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants, who happen to be sanitation workers.” He quoted Amos 5:24 “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

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