Cross-posted from a Facing South article by Sue Sturgis.
With the American people still struggling to make sense of the recent shootings in Arizona and the role that violent political rhetoric may have played, we revisit the words of the minister from Georgia who we honor this weekend.
Following is the text of a sermon Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered on Nov. 17, 1957 at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala. Eleven months earlier, King and other civil rights activists had founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to harness the power of African-American churches in the fight for racial justice -- a fight that was met with violence both rhetorical and very real.
In fact, the sermon was delivered a year before King was almost killed -- stabbed in the chest by a mentally ill woman who believed that King and the NAACP were communists conspiring to keep her from getting a job.
From his hospital room in Harlem, Dr. King issued a statement bearing no ill will toward his assailant, Izola Ware Curry, and hoping she would get help. King saw the incident not as an attack on one man, but as an attack of hatred.