Obsequies Martin Luther King Jr.


Obsequies Martin Luther King Jr.
ftlartin JLutber 1Sing .Jr. ·
~ .
10:30 A. M.
2:00 P. l\.1.
Wqr (ltumpul1 of ·!ID{nrrqnuBr QInllr9r
ilalii11 ffiut4Pf IKing :11r.
1929 . 1968
~'IART1 )l L U T HER KI):G JR.
is like th e g rea t Y ggd rasil t ree,
" who, e roots," a po et said, "a re d ee p in earth but in whos upper
bran he::. the star ' of h e~l\'e n are glowing J.nd asti r.:
Hi roo ts went deeply into the in ferno of . lavery, thi.' bla ck
b a b y born January 15, ] 929, to Alberta 'Villia m s King a n d "l\,fartin
Lu ther Kin g Sr . KO\,.... th e l o ots ha\ e g rown to tho,'c u pper
bran ch es, an d he is indeed amon~r the stars (,f hea\"en th is b ea utiful
n Ja n , husband, L:tther, pasto r, leade r.
He is free and he is home anc.l th e wo rld h as co m e to h is home
to honor hi m an d ho pefully, to r epe nt the sin :-: against him and all
hu manity.
J\-iarlin Luther King carn '"\ of a d ee ply r eligious family tradition. His grea t grandfat h er was a slave ex h orter. H is m aternal
grandbther, t he Rev. Adam Da n iel ' Villiams, ,vas the s cond pasto r
of Ebenezer Baptist C hurch wh ere for eight years) Dr. K in g and his
f:lthcr \vcre co- p astors.
This linea ge whic h p er mea.ted his life was a n enorm ous influence on him a nd wh a t h e wo u ld ultimat eI-y beco me.
Hi " fa ther, born at the turn o f t h e centu !,) in S to ' kbridgc,
Geo rgia) ca m e to :\tJ an ta in 19 16. In 1925, ~\'la r tin Luther Ki n g
Sr. ma.rried .'-\ l be rta \ V illia llls, They we re blessed w it h a d a u g hte r
and two so n s. Th e yo u n gest I)on is the RcverendAIfre cl Dani I
illiams King o f Lo uisvillc, Kentucky, who went to t\'femphis, Ten nessce. onc inbmou s day " to help my brotheL" The d aughter is
Christine King F arris of .t\tlanta, who went to a home that ni g ht
to comfort her brot her's w ife. The other , on was ~vIartin Luth r
K ing , Jr.
Reared in a home of Im'C, understanding, and co 111 pas. ion,
young i\.1a rtin wa~ to fin d 501 Au burn Avenu e a buffer against
the ran pant inju:: ticcs of th e ".'ick :oeiety" for \,,,,hieh he wo uld
become the phy~ i c ian ,
A serious stu dent) Martin L u th er King was an ea rl y adm issions
stu dent at lvlorehousc Coll ege in Atlan ta. f ro m whic h he gradu ated
with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1948 .
H is great "wrestlin g inside w ith the proble m of a vocation"
m u st have been prop hetic of the Inany agon izin g h ou r,;; whic h
v,:ould e\"entually charac terize his life.
Having felt the stings of "maIl 's in h uma ni ty to man; ' :.\ ;fartin
Luth er King b elieved law wou ld b e his sp he re for comb a tin g inj ustices. The min ist ry as h e saw it wa~ no t socia lly relev ant ; hov,'e ve r,
at Morehouse, in th e brillian t Dr. Benjamin E. :rvlays, he saw the
ideal of what he \-van ted a mi nister to be. I n his jun ior yea r, he
ga vc hi mself to the ministry.
At Crozer Theological Sen1ina r y in Chester, Pennsy h an ia,
Mar tin Luther King was fu rther 'S timulated b ut still h is quest fo r a
111ethod to end . ocial evil continued. Th rough co urses a t t h Unive rsity of Pen nsylvania , deep, ~C' ri ou s rea din u , and p ro\'oca ti ve lee·
lures, he beg3 I1 t o find ans'. . ers which would c rystallize his thinkin g
an d give him the ph iloso phy by wh j ~h he \"ould " re deem the so ul
of Am e rica." Becau se of the col<:Jr f his skin h is life was threaten ed
at this institution, but with the ,tplo m b that wou ld be t ypica l of h i
response to later threats, h e di 'a r med h is a ttacker.
He was the fi rst Negro to be elected p resident of C rozer's
stu dent body, an d this began \\'h a t wo uld b ecome a ser ies of firsts
for this son whose r oots we re in slayery.
\\lith a par tiall y satisfied, bl.l t still fermen ting m in d, h e m atriculated at Boston U n iversity, a t the time the cent er of person alism,
the philosophi a1 posture w hich he h a d a dopted. Studyin g un d er
two of the greatest expon ents of his philosoph y, !vlarti n K ing was
to fin d this theory a n " no rmou~ly 'usta inin g force in the fu ture .
In Boston, he met C a retta S ott, an eq ually concerned an d
talented New England Conse rvatory student from th e South. On
JLIne 18, 1~53, at h er ~1ario n , Alabama h orne she b ecame M rs.
lvl artin Luther I(ing, Jr. She w as later to r alize h er high est
dreams, not in concertizing, b ut in singing th e songs of freedo m
a n d being her husb~nd's d iscip le [rom " J\1ontgom er ' to J\10n tgomery .! l
This happ y ma rriage brought in to life four child ren' Yolanda
Denise, b o rn Novem ber 17, 1955; 1\1 artin Luther III, born October
23, 1957; Dexter Scott, born Jan ua ry 30, 196 1; a nd Be rnice Al-
bertine, bo rn J\farch 28 , 196 3.
The Ph.D. degrec was awarded Martin Luther K ing in .1 955,
and aga in there was a great "w restlin g jnside." Sensitive to the
needs of h is native South , he decjdcd to return to the land from
whence he h ad sprung, an d preach a ':ocially relevant and intellectually res ponsi bl e' go p el. I-Ie accepted the "call" to Dexter
.\\·enue Baptist Church in 1.fontgomery, Alab ama, an d began his
pa tora te September 1, 1954.
The cradle o f the Confederacy \vas a seething cauldron of
racial inju. ticc, and this grandson of a foun der of the Atlanta
Branch N :\ACP was a. kcd to ass ume the presidenc y of t he :rvfontg mery Branch N:\ACP. Aga in the wrestle.
F in a ll y. he answered negatively, but on December 1, 1955,
the refusal of l'drs. Rosa Parks to give up her seat to a white man
on a rvfo ntgomcry ' bu made the young, erudite min ister answer
affirmatiyely when asked ~o chair the ne,vly fornle d 11ontgonlery
Improvement .--\5S0 jation .
~lrs .
Parks' arrest for viola tion of the system of racial segregation set off a n ew American Rc\'olution . Daring to do what was
right, R alph and JLtanlta Abu'n a t hy stood up with IvIartin and
Ca retta King when there were n uthing but "valleys of despair," and
th eir loyalty h as nC\'cr known th e m idn ight.
Now, the myriad reli giou a n d phil osophical forces which had
shaped hi life would bc put to the test and t his selfless, compassiona te man would " forget him elf into imlllortality .' ·
"Christian love ca n bring br oth erhood on ea rth. T here is an
ele ment of G od In e\"cry man," said he after his home was bombed
in .1ontgom ery. Th i ncw attack on Ame ri ca's social system gave
every day application to th e teac hings of Jesus, and cap tured the
co nscience of the \\'orId.
On 4~\ pril 4 ~ 1968, a n
Luther King, Jr.
took the earthly life of
~·1ar t i n
Profound, b ut un pretentious; gentle, bu t valia nt ; Baptist, but
"cumenical; lovinCT justi ce, bu t hating inj lJ.stice; the deep roots of
this G reat Spirit resoh'cd the a gon izing wrestling and ga\ e all
m a n kin d n -'\v hope for a. b right tOlllOITOYV.
It is, now , f(JI' us, the living to dedica te and rededicate our
liyes to the Ca u ~c wh ich ivf artin Luther K.ing s nobly advanced.
[J e
I-I ad a Dream.
The Leadership Of
.., .
1955-56 Montgolnery Bus Boycott
Founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
Beginning of massive South-wide voter regIstration
Nonviolent education programs; school integration drives
Founding of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Conl1nittee; the sit-in 1110vement
Freedorn Rides; the Albany Movement bany, Georgia
Establishnlent of SCLC Citizensh ip E duca tion
P rogram and SCL C Operation Breadbasket
The Binninghaul Movelnent; The March on
The Nobel Prize for Peace~ the Civil Rights
Act of 1964
J 965
The Sellna-to-Montgonlery
Rights Act of 1965
The Chicago M oveln ent; the March Against
Fear in Mississipp i
The war in VietnaJll and the call for peace;
the Cleveland MoveJnent
The Poor People's Canlpaign; Mernphis
March ~
The Votin g
:airlltnrial §,prutr.pB
illutqrf 1Ki11g 3Jr.
1929 - 1!Tfi8
I, Ebenezer Baptist Church _________ ____ __ ___ Family and Faith
II. :i\1cmorial11arch .--.. -.__ __. Con1Initment and IvIovement
III. The l\!1orehouse College C ampus _.. __ __ . Knowledge and
W isdonl
I\l , Interment .-..... ---.-- . ___ __ .. ___ .... _. " Free at last, fr ee at last.'
Thank God Alm,ightYJ I'nl,
free at last ."J
1\t1.U11tU, ~rnrgitt
1\t1ri1 9, 1968
•• •
Martin Llltller ICillg Jr. marehed
for f'reedoll1.
W e 111arcll today
grateflll recogllitioll of tIle freedoln
filat1itt iGutqrr iKittg 4lr.
10:30 A. 1\1.
The Reverend Ralph David Abernathy, Officiating
PROCESS I ONAL - '(Co rtege n
... ---.- . . - . -. . . . . . ... .. ___.. _. . . __. . __ . . ... . . . . .. . .
D upre
HY11N - "TVhe71 I S urvey ~ h e ~Vo n dr ous Cross" _. arr. Lowell 1\1ason
PRAYER ...--.-.......... -.. ... -.. -...-- .... __ ...._. _... T he R eve rend Ronald E nglish
Assis ta nt P astor, Ebenezer Bap tist Ch urch
HY11N - " 171 Chri. t. T h ere I s N o E a.-t or H-'ese' ._._._ ... _........... __ ._ ........ .
Alexander R . Reinagle
The Reverend \--Villia rn H . Borders
Pa stor Wh eat S treet Bap tist Church
HYI\1N -. US oft l')' and T enderly" . __ _... __ ......... .......... \Vill L. T hompson
.:\fE\V TEST AMENT SCRI PTURE _._ .. _.. The Reverend E . H. Dorsey
Pastor, Tabern acle Bap ti st Church
HYI\1N -
T-Vh ere He Lea ds !vIe" .. .. _.... __ .......... _......... __ .. ...
.T . S.
TRIBUTE .. --.- .... -.... ................ _... __. ... _.. ___ _.__ .. _. Dr. L. Harold D e W olfe
M en tor of D r. Ki ng
SOLO - (?.1'), H eaD nlry Fath er H' at ch es Over A1e'" ._. __ ...__ ..........__ ..... _
Cha rles H . Gabrie,l
M rs. M a ry G urley
SPIRl l UA L - ((Bal m in Gilead" _.................... ____ ........... __ Traditional
((Largo ») from (( Ne'v rVorld Sy m phony" .. _. Dvorak
Soutll View
«History has thrust upon our generation an indescribably important
destiny-to complete a process of democratization HJhich our nation
has too long developed too slowly. How we deal w ith with this crucial
situation will determine our moral health as individuals, our cultural
health as a region, our political health as a nation, and our prestige
as a leader of the tree world."
(fA lthough I cannot pay the fine, I will willingly accept the alternative
which you provide, and tha t I will do without malice."
Statement to an Alabama judge, 1958
''It may get me crucified. I nw)' even die. But I wanl it said even if J
die in the struggle that 'He died to make men free' " .
· .. .
'(The question is lIot whether we will be extremist but what kind of
extremists will we be. Will we be extrernists for hate or will we be
extremists for the preservation of injustice-or will we be extremists
tor the cause of justice?
Letter from a Birmingham J aH
April, 1963
.'] have a dream that my four little children lvill one day live in a
nntiol7 wh ere They \vill not be judged by the color of their skin but th e
crmtenf of the;" character. "
The March on \Vashingtoll,
August 28, 1963
of you ha pe kllives, and I ask you to put them up . Some of
you IW.l'e arms, and I ask }Oll to put them up. Get th e w eapon 0/
n 011\ iolel/ ce. the breast plat e of righteousness, the arm or of trllth and
ji/sl keep rnarching."
"Co wardice asks th e q ll estion 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the qu estiull, tis it politic?' V anity asks The questioll, ?s it popular?' But conscience asks !he question, ?s it right ?' And there comes a time when
aile must take a posit ion that is n eith er safe, nor politic, nor popular,
but he mllst fak e it beca use con cie nce te lls him that it is right."
On Taking a position against
the war in Vietn am , 1967
"Poor people's' IiFes are disru pted alld dislocated e very day . TVe want
put a stop /0 th is. Poverty , raeisttl and discrimination cause famili es
(u be k ept apa rt, m en 10 beco m e d esperate, w omen to live in fear, and
ch;/dren (0 st(llTe ."
On the Poor People s Campaign, 1968
"Lik e anybody, I H'o [.dd like to li ve a long life . Longevity has its place .
B II ! I' m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's w ill
... . . I've looked over an d I' ve seen th e proll7;sed land. I may not get
II /ere wilh YOIl, hut / lVant y ou to know tonight that 11 e as a people
will gel 10 the promised land."
April 3, 1968
Board of Deacons, Ebenezer Baptist Church
S. C. L. C. Staff
11en of the Clergy
Arttur Jullbr&frfE:
1. 11r. 1\,1 ilton Cornelius
2. Mr. Jethro English
3. l\1r. Arthur Henderson
4. 1\11'. Hovva rd DO\,\Tdy
5. Reverend C. K. Steele
6. Reverend Fred Shu ttl es,,,,'or th
7. Reverend Jesse .Jackson
8. Reverend Fred C. Bennette
"I Tried to Love and Serve fIllll1allity"
are a roun d when I have to meet
d ay, I
don 't want a long funeral. And if yo u get somebody to deliver the
eulogy, tell him not to talk too long ..... Tell them not to mention
that I have a Nobel Peace P r ize. Tha t isn't important. T 11 them
n ot to mention that I have th ree or four h und red oth "' I' awards .
That's n ot important. Tell t hem not to m ention w here I vent to
school. I'd like som ebody to mention th at clay, that 'I'vi artin Luth ' 1'
tried to give his life serving others.' 1' d like for som ebody
to say that day, that '~.f art in Lu ther Kin g
tri ed to love some-
body .' I want yo u to say that day th a t I tried to be righ t on the
war question. I want you to be able to say that day, that I did
try t o feed the hungry. And I \",'an t you to be able to a y that day
that I dld try in my li fe to clothe those who were naked . I ',,:ant
you to say on th at day, tha t I did t ry, in my life, to visi t tho 'e who
were in prison. I "vant you to sav tha t I tried to love and serve
humanity. "
Eben 'zer Bapti:::t Church
Atl anta, Georgia
Su nday, F ebrua ry 4; 1968
In this hour of sadness, \-ve wish to ackno\.vledgc with
deepest gratitude the great outpouring of sympa thy and
warm consolation vve have received frorn our friends throughout the ,,,,orId. You have lifted our hearts, and vvi th your
help and the imrnortal guiding spirit of our
father, brother, Inartyrecl leader -
JR. -
T17 e Shall Overcome.
funeral G nder the Direction of:
At lan ta, Georgia

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