Re: [xmca] No MLK, on this of all days?

From: Phil Chappell (
Date: Tue Jan 17 2006 - 03:38:18 PST

Thanks for the reminder Mike. And a stunning speech - one that
rattles within.

On 17/01/2006, at 10:06 AM, Mike Cole wrote:

> How odd. Today is the national observance of the life and death of
> Martin
> Luther King. The sun has set. The air is getting cool. And not a
> whisper of
> the man who gave us this
> day in exchange for his life.
> If you have the time, I suggest that you check out his last speech, in
> support of badly paid, low status workers in Memphis. The URL is
> And in case you have more important things to do, here is some of
> the text
> toward the end of his speech that might reward a quick glance... or
> two.
> That's the question before you tonight. Not, "If I stop to help the
> sanitation workers, what will happen to all of the hours that I
> usually
> spend in my office every day and every week as a pastor?" The
> question is
> not, "If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?"
> "If I do
> not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?"
> That's
> the question.
> Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with
> a greater
> determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these
> days of
> challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an
> opportunity to
> make America a better nation. And I want to thank God, once more, for
> allowing me to be here with you.
> You know, several years ago, I was in New York City autographing
> the first
> book that I had written. And while sitting there autographing books, a
> demented black woman came up. The only question I heard from her
> was, "Are
> you Martin Luther King?"
> And I was looking down writing, and I said yes. And the next minute
> I felt
> something beating on my chest. Before I knew it I had been stabbed
> by this
> demented woman. I was rushed to Harlem Hospital. It was a dark
> Saturday
> afternoon. And that blade had gone through, and the X-rays revealed
> that the
> tip of the blade was on the edge of my aorta, the main artery. And
> once
> that's punctured, you drown in your own blood—that's the end of you.
> It came out in the *New York Times* the next morning, that if I had
> sneezed,
> I would have died. Well, about four days later, they allowed me,
> after the
> operation, after my chest had been opened, and the blade had been
> taken out,
> to move around in the wheel chair in the hospital. They allowed me
> to read
> some of the mail that came in, and from all over the states, and
> the world,
> kind letters came in. I read a few, but one of them I will never
> forget. I
> had received one from the President and the Vice-President. I've
> forgotten
> what those telegrams said. I'd received a visit and a letter from the
> Governor of New York, but I've forgotten what the letter said. But
> there was
> another letter that came from a little girl, a young girl who was a
> student
> at the White Plains High School. And I looked at that letter, and
> I'll never
> forget it. It said simply, "Dear Dr. King: I am a ninth-grade
> student at the
> White Plains High School." She said, "While it should not matter, I
> would
> like to mention that I am a white girl. I read in the paper of your
> misfortune, and of your suffering. And I read that if you had
> sneezed, you
> would have died. And I'm simply writing you to say that I'm so
> happy that
> you didn't sneeze."
> And I want to say tonight, I want to say that I am happy that I didn't
> sneeze. Because if I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been around here
> in 1960,
> when students all over the South started sitting-in at lunch
> counters. And I
> knew that as they were sitting in, they were really standing up for
> the best
> in the American dream. And taking the whole nation back to those
> great wells
> of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers in the
> Declaration
> of Independence and the Constitution. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't
> have been
> around in 1962, when Negroes in Albany, Georgia, decided to
> straighten their
> backs up. And whenever men and women straighten their backs up,
> they are
> going somewhere, because a man can't ride your back unless it is
> bent. If I
> had sneezed, I wouldn't have been here in 1963, when the black
> people of
> Birmingham, Alabama, aroused the conscience of this nation, and
> brought into
> being the Civil Rights Bill. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have had
> a chance
> later that year, in August, to try to tell America about a dream
> that I had
> had. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been down in Selma, Alabama,
> been in
> Memphis to see the community rally around those brothers and
> sisters who are
> suffering. I'm so happy that I didn't sneeze.
> And they were telling me, now it doesn't matter now. It really doesn't
> matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got
> started
> on the plane, there were six of us, the pilot said over the public
> address
> system, "We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther
> King on
> the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to
> be sure
> that nothing would be wrong with the plane, we had to check out
> everything
> carefully. And we've had the plane protected and guarded all night."
> And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or
> talk about
> the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our
> sick
> white brothers?
> Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days
> ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the
> mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a
> long
> life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that
> now. I just
> want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the
> mountain. And
> I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get
> there with
> you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get
> to the
> promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about
> anything. I'm
> not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of
> the
> Lord.
> ---------------
> I have not seen that far myself. But I am pretty sure we have
> difficult days
> ahead. And to quote another man I admire, I find that while the
> mountains
> may not get higher and higher, the valleys
> sure do get deeper and deeper.
> mike
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