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King Spoke in LA Just 3 Weeks Before His Assassination

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Photo by mil8 via the LAist Featured Pools on Flickr

Yesterday marked 40 years since Dr Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. But did you know this? MLK Jr spoke at a packed congregation in Los Angeles just three weeks before his assassination:

The 40th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. comes as a poignant reminder of the day the civil rights leader stood in the pulpit at Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles and preached a Sunday morning sermon about "the meaning of hope." Less than three weeks before his death on April 4, 1968, King's voice echoed in the packed church on West Adams Boulevard, and some longtime members say they can still recall his penetrating eyes, his calm manner and the silence that enveloped the sanctuary as he spoke...

As Holman prepared to mark the anniversary of King's assassination, the Rev. Henry L. Masters asked if any parishioners remembered the sermon. Not only did church members like DeCayette speak up, some said they had tape-recordings...

During this Sunday's services at the Holman United Methodist Church, the senior pastor will play a ten-minute portion of MLK Jr's sermon in Los Angeles, and the full 11 am service will be broadcast on 102.3 FM. Check it out.
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Here are some words of inspiration from MLK Jr.

From his sermon in Los Angeles three weeks before his assassination:

"Hope is not desire. . . . You may desire money, but you hope for peace. You may desire sex, but you hope for freedom. You may desire beautiful clothes, but you hope for the ringing of justice. You see, desire has an "I" quality, but hope has a "we" quality."

From MLK Jr's historic "Beyond Vietnam" speech, delivered exactly one year before his assassination:

"A few years ago, there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor, both black and white, through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war. And I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such."
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And from his famous speech in Washington, DC:


"There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. The real question is whether we have the will."

These words are still true today. Makes you wish the Los Angeles City Council passed something more substantial than the symbolic "period to promote peace, justice, and non-violence" (the moratorium on murder) this weekend, in the name of MLK Jr.