Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

The recent federal holiday marking the birthday of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has continued to inspire many to consider the idea of equality and justice for all citizens. Personally, I noticed many facebook statuses on Monday quoting the Reverend’s words, the most popular quote being “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” This prompted me to look through our library collection to see what we might have in terms of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy. I found an interesting pamphlet which was transcribed from a lecture delivered in 1982 by Stephen B. Oates in Fort Wayne, Indiana entitled “Builders of the Dream: Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.” Oates’s lecture focused on the juxtaposition of these two leaders who lived a century apart yet embodied the same basic vision of equality for all. Although we have come a long way since 1968, there are still many issues with regard to true equality in play and we will always look to passionate leaders to help guide us. The last paragraph of Oates’s lecture is as follows…

In the end, King fell in Memphis, Tennessee, a victim of the same conflict that had claimed Lincoln’s life in another April long before. Perhaps assassination is what happens to passionate, spiritual, driven figures like them and Mahatma Ghandi; in their efforts to build a temple for the forces of light, they stir up too much evil, too much hatred. Yet we need not despair, for our lives—our country and our world—are immeasurably enriched because of what they saw, said, and did. Their words and deeds are permanent monuments; through them Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King have never died. They never will.

This pamphlet is available to view in full here in the library on the second floor of the Filson Historical Society.

Filson Historical

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