King at Riverside

David W. Stowe
King at Riverside Church, April 1967

In place of holiday cards, a friend of mine who teaches at CUNY sends out original cards on Martin Luther King Day. To get one you need to complete her survey:

Yes, I make you fill this out every year, even if you haven't moved. It's part of the fun. Please submit your address to make sure you get your 2013 MLK day card. Then go sign up to volunteer somewhere...  Oh, and let me know how you're doing. I miss you!

What are you doing for MLK Day? *
  •   Volunteering
  •   Waiting by the mailbox for my card
  •   Reading a lesser known MLK speech
  •   Watching an MLK speech on Youtube
  •   Thanking a teacher, community activist, friend, etc. for their work for social justice
  •   Thinking about what I can do to participate in creating a more just society everyday!
  •   Participating in some anti-gun violence initiative
  •   Attending a community event
  •   Other:   
King answers questions after his Riverside speech
Not a bad menu of choices for readers of RiAH. Listen in on one of the twentieth century's great jeremiads, delivered from that citadel of the liberal mainline, Riverside Church, exactly one year before King's asassination:

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join you in this meeting because I'm in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together:Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. The recent statements of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: "A time comes when silence is betrayal." And that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam....

We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood -- it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage,    but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. Omar Khayyam is right: "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on."

If King were still alive he'd be 84; what would he say to Barack Obama at today's inauguration?


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