Awakening Into Action

Published by AV Coordinator on

Rev. Michelle-Scott Huffman

On this day in 1968 in Memphis, TN, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech that would famously become known as his Mountaintop Speech. The following day, he was assassinated. In honor of Dr. King, and the continued struggle for racial justice, we share these excerpts today as our opening words.

“Now, let me say as I move to my conclusion that we’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through. And when we have our march, you need to be there. If it means leaving work, if it means leaving school — be there. Be concerned about your brother. You may not be on strike. But either we go up together, or we go down together.

Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness.”

“Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. And I want to thank God, once more, for allowing me to be here with you.”

“I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!”

What Can One Little Person Do?
Written and Performed by Sally Rogers
Used with Permission

I Lift My Voice
Written by Andrea Ramsey
Performed by Emily McKinney and Ryan McCoy
Used With Permission

The closing words are Remain Awake, by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, given at the UUA General Assembly Ware Lecture in 1966.

The idea whose time has come today is the idea of freedom and human dignity, and so all over the world we see something of freedom explosion, and this reveals to us that we are in the midst of revolutionary times. An older order is passing away and a new order is coming into being. … The role of the church [is] to broaden horizons, to challenge the status quo, and to question and break mores. … The church has a major role to play in this period of social change … [it must] remain awake through this revolution.