Apr. 3, 2018


Grosse Point Michigan
March 14, 1968

In the following passage, Dr. King referenced Thomas Carlyle, William Cullen Bryant, and James Russell Lowell. Today I will go directly to each reference line and read the passage in Carlyle's case and the complete poems in the case of Bryant and Lowell. How many of us exacted that information before? Dr. Martin Luther King was one of the greatest orators in history. So today I wanted to provide more historical background.

We shall overcome because Carlisle is right. "No lie can live forever." We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant is right. "Truth crushed to earth will rise again." We shall overcome because James Russell Lowell is right. "Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne. Yet that scaffold sways the future.” We shall overcome because the Bible is right. "You shall reap what you sow." With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when all of God's children all over this nation - black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old negro spiritual, "Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty, We are Free At Last."