Bayard Rustin on MLK, 1969

“April 4, 1969 will mark the first anniversary of the slaying of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I can think of no better way to observe that Good Friday than to reflect on the meaning of Dr. King’s life and his death, and to rededicate ourselves to the continuation of his work. Dr. King’s philosophy and life’s work were guided by his adherence to the three great principles of nonviolence, democracy, and integration. These principles gave him spiritual courage as well as political direction in the battles of Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma and throughout the struggle to integrate public accommodations and abolish Jim Crow. And they also led him to the great insight which was symbolized by the new direction he was moving in at the time of his death. For we must never forget that Dr. King died in a labor struggle. He died in the midst of an effort to organize the Memphis sanitation workers and to win for them union recognition and collective bargaining rights.”

Bayard Rustin, 1969.

(Born in West Chester on March 17, 1912, Rustin became one of King’s closest associates and was chief planner of the famed “I have a Dream” march, more formally March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963)

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