Saturday, January 17, 2009


This from Martin Luther King's 1966 Ware Lecture:

"Don’t Sleep Through the Revolution"

I think it is necessary to see the meaning of love in higher terms. The Greek language has three words for love – one is the eros, another is the word filio, and another is the word agape. I'm thinking not of eros, or of friendship as expressed in filio, but of agape, which is understanding, creative, redemptive good will for all men, an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. When one rises to love on this level, he loves a person who does the evil deed while hating the deed. I believe that in our best moments in this struggle we have tried to adhere to this. In some strange way we have been able to stand up in the face of our most violent opponents and say, in substance, we will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with our soul force. Do to us what you will and we will still love you…Throw us in jail and we will still love you. Threaten our children, bomb our homes, send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities at the midnight hours and drag us out on some wayside road and beat us and leave us half dead; and, as difficult as it is, we will still love you. Send your propaganda agents around the nation and make it appear we are not fit morally, culturally or otherwise for integration and we will still love you. But be assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. And one day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves, we will so appeal to your heart and your conscience that we will win you in the process and our victory will be a double victory. This is our message in the non-violent movement when we are true to it."

1 comment:

David G. Markham said...

Hi BU:

Excellent post! As good a description of nonviolence action as I have ever read. You get right to the essence of it.

Three years ago I left my home in Brockport, NY and went to Montgomery, Alabama, and visited all the historic civil rights sites including King's church and his parsonage which was fire bombed.

They give tours of the parsonage to bus groups, but I arrived singly and on foot and the two women dosans explained how they could'nt give me a tour so I just spend 20 minutes chatting with them. As as I recollected my memories of the civil rights days, I started to weep and I apologized to the women who seemed to take my effusion of emotion in stride and they said, "Oh honey, don't worry about it, alot of people cry when they come here."

They are tears of sadness, tears of joy, tears of pride at what has been accomplished.

I am a fat, privleged, white 63 year old man from New York State and I cry when I think of the nonviolent civil rights movement in the United States.

King was a young man in his late 20s and 30s when he lead the nonviolent civil rights movement which has changed our country and the world. It is amazing, utterly amazing, and it is amazing that you have captured the essence of it so well in your post.

I feel blessed.

All the best,

David Markham