One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of the status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. But today our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change. The large house in which we live demands that we transform this worldwide neighborhood into a worldwide brotherhood.¹
We stand today, between two worlds, the dying old and the emerging new. . . . It is both historically and biologically true that there can be no birth or growth without birth and growing pains. . . . and so the tensions which we witness in the world today are indicative of the fact that a new world is being born and an old world is passing away.²
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.³
¹ Martin Luther King, Jr., “The World House,” Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community (Boston: Beacon Press, 1968, 1986), 181.
² Martin Luther King, Jr., “The Birth of a New Age,” 11 August 1956, in The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967), 3: 340.
³ King, “My Jewish Brother!” in The Radical King, ed. Cornel West (Boston: Beacon Press, 2015), 103.