What would King have said?

The right rages about politics at the funeral for Coretta Scott King. It's a little late for that.


Tim Grieve
February 9, 2006 12:24AM (UTC)

So it was inappropriate to "inject" politics into the funeral of Coretta Scott King?

Tell it to her late husband.

Daily Kos has just posted an excerpt from the eulogy the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered for children killed in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963:

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"These children -- unoffending, innocent, and beautiful -- were the victims of one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity. And yet they died nobly. They are the martyred heroines of a holy crusade for freedom and human dignity.

"And so this afternoon, in a real sense, they have something to say to each of us in their death. They have something to say to every minister of the gospel who has remained silent behind the safe security of stained-glass windows. They have something to say to every politician who has fed his constituents with the stale bread of hatred and the spoiled meat of racism. They have something to say to a federal government that has compromised with the undemocratic practices of southern Dixiecrats and the blatant hypocrisy of right-wing northern Republicans. They have something to say to every Negro (Yeah) who has passively accepted the evil system of segregation and who has stood on the sidelines in a mighty struggle for justice. They say to each of us, black and white alike, that we must substitute courage for caution. They say to us that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers. Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American dream ...

"And so I stand here to say this afternoon to all assembled here, that in spite of the darkness of this hour, we must not despair. We must not become bitter, nor must we harbor the desire to retaliate with violence. No, we must not lose faith in our white brothers. Somehow we must believe that the most misguided among them can learn to respect the dignity and the worth of all human personality."


Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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