Delivered at the National Cathedral, Washington, DC on 31 March 1968 © The Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution
Newsweek tells me that Hillary Clinton heard this speech in Chicago before it was delivered in Washington. It’s possible that this part was added later, I don’t know.
One day a newsman came to me and said, “Dr. King, don’t you think you’re going to have to stop, now, opposing the war and move more in line with the administration’s policy? As I understand it, it has hurt the budget of your organization, and people who once respected you have lost respect for you. Don’t you feel that you’ve really got to change your position?” I looked at him and I had to say, “Sir, I’m sorry you don’t know me. I’m not a consensus leader. I do not determine what is right and wrong by looking at the budget of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. I’ve not taken a sort of Gallup Poll of the majority opinion.” Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.
Of course it is a wonderful and prophetic speech. It’s difficult to choose a passage that will inspire you to go and read it. Everyone should go and read what Martin said today because we need this man’s inspiration now more than ever.
And I submit that nothing will be done until people of goodwill put their bodies and their souls in motion. And it will be the kind of soul force brought into being as a result of this confrontation that I believe will make the difference.