The following text is an excerpt from a 1966 article written by Dr. King, and published in the New Amsterdam News.
The Hebrew prophets are needed today because Amos said, in words that echo across the centuries: “Let justice roll down like the waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.” We need them because Micah said, in words lifted to cosmic proportions, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Neither shall they learn war anymore.”
We need them because Isaiah said: “Yes, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. Wash you. Make you clean. Put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes. Cease to do evil.”
I think the Hebrew prophets are among us today because, although there are many pulpits that are empty while ministers physically occupy them, there are others from which the passion for justice and compassion for man is still heard.
In the days to come, as the voices of sanity multiply, we will know that, across thousands of years of time, the prophet’s message of truth and decency, brotherhood and peace, survives; that they are living in our time, to give hope to a tortured world that their promise of the Kingdom of God has not been lost to mankind.
Originally published in New York Amsterdam News, New York, New York, February 26, 1966. Citation from In a Single Garment of Destiny: A Global Vision of Justice, Lewis V. Baldwin, ed. (Boston: Beacon Press, 2012), 207-08.