I have seen this quote many times, and for this post, I wanted to find the speech in which it appears. My search first led me to videos of Dr. King speaking. In one video, I saw footage of King, amid rioting onlookers, tell reporters that even in Mississippi and Alabama, he had never seen such violent hostility towards himself and the civil rights movement, as he saw in Chicago.
The video then showed more contemporary footage of some individuals who had marched with King speaking to high school students in that Chicago district. While knowing who King was, these teenagers had no idea that Martin Luther King had anything to do with their own neighborhood.
Like them, I realized how little I knew about him. I continued my search and I found the speech in which this week's quote is from.
Dr. King wrote his "Forgive Your Enemies" speech while in prison for non-violent protest and delivered it later to the Dexter Baptist Church in 1957.
I read the whole thing, and in doing so, I could feel the immense power of his call for forgiveness as a way to neutralize the terrible scourge of racism. It is a very emotional read. His words are so powerfully written, I could feel what it must have been like to be in his presence. The man was truly a hero, not only for his race but for all of humanity, and his words literally vibrate with his powerful love of humanity, more than 50 years after his tragic and untimely death in 1968.
If you would like to read the speech in which this quote appears, click here