We aren’t going to let any mace stop us. We are masters in our nonviolent movement in disarming police forces. They don’t know what to do. I’ve seen them so often. I remember in Birmingham, Alabama, when we were in that majestic struggle there, we would move out of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church day after day. By the hundreds we would move out, and Bull Connor would tell them to send the dogs forth, and they did come. But we just went before the dogs singing, “Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around.” [applause] Bull Connor next would say, “Turn the fire hoses on.” (Yeah) And as I said to you the other night, Bull Connor didn’t know history. He knew a kind of physics that somehow didn’t relate to the trans-physics that we knew about. And that was the fact that there was a certain kind of fire that no water could put out. [applause] And we went before the fire hoses. (Yeah) We had known water. (All right) If we were Baptist or some other denominations, we had been immersed. If we were Methodist and some others, we had been sprinkled. But we knew water. That couldn’t stop us. [applause]–“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”; Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
April 3, 1968; Memphis, Tennessee
I’ve been pretty obsessed with the last speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ever since Charlottesville. In preparing for yesterday’s sermon commemorating the baptism of Jesus, I reviewed our commitments as baptized United Methodist Christians (hub of resources here). We all agree to “resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves”. This has always sounded good to me.
If I’m going to be more active in the human struggles for freedom and dignity, actually, all I have to do is keep the word I gave at my baptism.