THE REPENTANCE PROJECT / AN AMERICAN LENT
The Present Crisis & Positive Action
WEEK IV / DAY VI
Saturday, March 10, 2018
Excerpt from Stride Toward Freedom by Martin Luther King, Jr.
"We can choose either to walk the high road of human brotherhood or to tread the low road of man’s inhumanity to man.
"History has thrust upon our generation an indescribably important destiny — to complete a process of democratization which our nation has too long developed too slowly but which is our most powerful weapon for world respect and emulation. How we deal with this crucial situation will determine our moral health as individuals, our cultural health as a region, our political health as a nation, and our prestige as a leader of the free world. The future of America is bound up with the solution of the present crisis. The shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of a faltering democracy. The United States cannot hope to attain the respect of the vital and growing colored nations of the world unless it remedies its racial problems at home. If America is to remain a first-class nation, it cannot have a second-class citizenship.
"A solution of the present crisis will not take place unless men and women work for it. Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Even a superficial look at history reveals that no social advance rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. Every stop toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle, the tireless exertions and passionate concerns of dedicated individuals. Without persistent effort, time itself becomes an ally of the insurgent and primitive forces of irrational emotionalism and social destruction. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.
"It is the shame of sunshine patriots if the foregoing paragraphs have a hollow sound, like an echo of countless political speeches. These things must be repeated time and again, for men forget quickly; but once said, they must be followed with a dynamic program, or else they become a refuge for those who shy from any action. If America is to respond creatively to the present crisis, many groups and agencies must rise above the reiteration of generalities and begin to take an active part in changing the face of their nation." (King, 1958:196-197)
King, M.L.K, Jr. (1958) Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. New York City: Harper & Brothers.
Compiled by Ted Haddock