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Peace Matters






About King

Quotations on:
- Racialism
- Poverty
- Religion and the church
- War and Peace
- Civil Disobedience
- The movement & Black Power
- Violence & Nonviolence
- Through other people's eyes
- Speech


Audio tape of King's speeches is available

All the quotations, text of the speech and other material about King is available as an illustrated pdf fille.


through others' eyes

L D Reddick: Here is a voice that says: 'See, we will no harm you; our hands are clean and empty. Let us be brothers.'

C Eric Lincoln: He was the symbol - the unbearable symbol - of what is wrong with ourselves and our culture.

Guardian Association of the Police Department, New York: ...distinguished minister, leader and humanitarian...pioneering courage and unselfish devotion...a source of inspiration to those who believe in equal rights for all men.

David L Lewis: He was the echo chamber of the racially oppressed but an echo chamber whose reverberations were rounded, more intelligible, and much more polite than the raw cries that it transformed.

Martin's message - in the language of the prophets and the revivalists - never directly threatened, probably never really disconcerted, and always until the end, evoked, in its aftermath of white guilt and black self-pity, deeply pleasurable emotions.

Rhetoric almost without content. (The 'I Have a Dream' Speech.)

Lerone Bennett, Jnr: But beyond all that, beyond race, civil rights and religion, King must be seen and confronted finally as a man who bypassed cerebral centres and attacked the archetypal roots of man. His grace, like Gandhi's, grows out of a complicated relation not to oppression but to the ancient scourges, to death. Men who conquer the fear of these things in themselves acquire extraordinary power over themselves and over others.

Kenneth Slack: It was not just that he was convinced that love was 'a good thing'; he believed that love was power.

I F Stone: He stood in that line of saints which goes back from Gandhi to Jesus; his violent end, like theirs, reflects the hostility of mankind to those that annoy it by trying hard to pull it one more painful step further up the ladder from ape to angel.

Dave Dellinger: For years...'moderates' tried to capture or contain him. Underestimating his potential for growth and mistaking his non-violence for lack of revolutionary seriousness, they thought they could control him and pushed him to the fore as public leader of the movement. To an unfortunate extent they did succeed in slowing down his development and containing him, as in Birmingham, in Albany (Georgia), in Selma, and in Chicago. These were campaigns which had their days of glory but in which King, under tremendous pressure from his financial backers and political advisers, abandoned his announced objectives without proper consultation with or regard for the people who had to remain and suffer, after he and his more glamorous supporters withdrew. In the election year of 1964 the moderates succeeded with some difficulty in persuading King to adopt and promulgate a six-month moratorium on demonstrations in order to ensure the election of President Johnson - a goal more in line with their own non-revolutionary conceptions of how progress is made than with his own developing radicalism. But they never succeeded in capturing Martin Luther King or turning him into one of their own. He kept coming back to launch new campaigns based on the bedrock of his religiously motivated dissatisfaction with anything less than freedom and justice for all.

Jonathan Power: There was much glib talk after Dr King's death about how non-violence was dead too. Certainly as the riots fanned out across America, when the news of King's death broke, it looked like that. But, in fact, nothing could have been further from the truth. Within two years American radicals would feel so saturated with violence that they would begin to open their minds to new political initiatives. There would be a sickening awareness that bomb talk and bomb activity got them nowhere. One by one the great leaders of the left would publicly question their own former tactics. Bernardine Dolan of the Weathermen, in January 1971; then Huey Newton of the Panthers, in June 1971; and finally Jerry Rubin of the Yippies in October 1971...

It is not unrealistic, then, to argue that if King had lived and weathered the storm of [1968-1971], he would have pushed through to greater things, that his incredible stamina would have produced a new surge of political strength. It may be that he would have emerged as the one man who could have appealed to the disillusioned blacks of 1971, 1972 and 1973 and said to them, without rancour or bitterness but with only a mild admonishment, 'I told you but you would not listen. I showed you but you would not look.' And maybe, because they knew that King for all his failings did not let up, did push through, did get things done, did believe in them all, they would have followed him again.


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