I am including selected portions of this speech by The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. The speech was delivered on March 25,1965, in Montgomery, Alabama. May it inspire us today as much as it inspired its first hearers.
As we go away, let us go away more than ever before committed to this struggle and committed to nonviolence. I must admit to you that there are still some difficult days ahead. We are still in for a season of suffering in many of the black belt counties of Alabama, many areas of Mississippi, many areas of Louisiana. I must admit to you that there are still jail cells waiting for us, and dark and difficult moments. But if we will go on with the faith that nonviolence and its power can transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows, we will be able to change all of these conditions.
I know you are asking today, ”
How long? Not long,because “no lie can live forever.”
How long? Not long, because “you shall reap what you sow.”
How long? Not long:
Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,
Yet that scaffold sways the future, And, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow, Keeping watch above his own.
How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
How long? Not long, because:
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He has loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat.
O, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant my feet!
Our God is marching on.
Glory, hallelujah! Glory, hallelujah! Glory, hallelujah! Glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
A Prayer honoring the Birthday of Dr, Martin Luther King, Jr.
(Excerpts from the speech “Our God Is Marching On!” by The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., presented in Montgomery, Alabama on March 25, 1965.)
O Lord our God, how long will prejudice blind the our vision, darken our understanding, and drive bright-eyed wisdom from her sacred throne?
When will wounded justice, lying prostrate on the streets of our cities and communities be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of God?
When will the radiant star of hope be plunged against the darkness of this lonely night?
How long will justice be crucified, and truth bear it?
We know, God, that however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because “truth crushed to earth will rise again.
And so, by your guidance, God, we will move on toward the unconditional love that you have shown us. With the faith that nonviolence and its power can transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows, with the grace that comes from your gentle hands, with the courage and justice that has grown within us, we will join hands in unity to build a sparkling new world.
And this we will do in your name, guided by your love, inspired by your Spirit.