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Sunday, June 2, 2024

King: A Life

 I recently read King: A Life by Jonathon Eig (2023). It is the most recent biography of Martin Luther King. 

 My top takeaways:

·       I was regularly struck by how young MLK was during his window of real-time influence.

·       Clearly, Providence predestined MLK into the role he played (as brief as his time on earth was).

·       As are all our heroes, MLK was human; he had the accompanying faults, flaws, and demons, despite being a man of the cloth.

·       I was not aware of what a pillar of strength Coretta, his wife, was; a remarkable woman. 

·       Interesting to me was the constant push-pull of MLK’s advisors and “influencers,” who continually sought to morph his message. It was clearly a challenge for him to stay focused on the primary outcome he pursued: just and equitable application of the principles promised in our Constitution. 

·       It seems abundantly clear to me that MLK believed to his core that LOVE is the only thing that can defeat hate/evil. 


My favorite quotes:

He called himself “a victim of deferred dreams, of blasted hope.” He also insisted that “we must never lose infinite hope.” He never did. (p. 10)


He called out in his deep, throbbing voice, and the people responded, the noise of the crowd rolling and pounding in waves that shook the building as he built to a climax: And we are not wrong… If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong. If we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong. If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer that never came down to earth. If we are wrong, justice is a lie. Love has no meaning. And we are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream. (p. 171)


The means we use must be as pure as the end we seek. (p. 403)


“God’s unbroken hold on us,” he said, “is something that will never permit us to feel right when we do wrong, or to feel natural when we do the unnatural. God has planted within us certain eternal principles, and the more we try to get away from them the more frustrated we will be.” (p. 566)


This work pushed my thinking deeply on two fronts: spiritual and political. It brought clarity to both perspectives. A good work.

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