tv Reel America Martin Luther King Jr. Funeral Service CSPAN April 1, 2018 4:35pm-6:01pm EDT
good night. >> this special report has been brought to you by western electric, manufacturing and supply unit of the bell system, the people who provide telephones and the equipment that connects them. announcer: 50 years ago on april 9, 1968, funeral services were held in atlanta for martin luther king jr., who had been shot and killed five days earlier in memphis, tennessee. up next on "reel america," cbs news coverage from ebenezer baptist church, where one of -- where reverend ralph abernathy, one of king's closest friends, presided over his funeral service. the program continues with scenes of the procession, as thousands of mourners follow the casket through the street of atlanta to morehouse college.
with a loud voice, lord, lay not this sin to their charge. in the sight of the lord is the depth of his faith. once for every man and nation comes the moment to decide. decide between truth and falsehood or the good or evil sign. some great cause, some great the bloomffered each or blight. and the charge goes by forever.
god. i will help thee, yea i will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. i am the resurrection and the light, saith the lord. may we be seated. we gather here this morning on one of the darkest hours in the history of the black people of this nation, and in one of the darkest hours in the history of all mankind. for martin luther king, a 20th
century prophet who was imbued with the philosophy of nonviolence, sent forth into the -- sent forth as moses in the wilderness of this sick nation of ours, to live his voice and cry out to the pharaohs to let my people go. -- to let my people go, was assassinated on last thursday evening in memphis, tennessee. we come to the church where he
was dedicated and blessed as a baby, where he was baptized as a christian, where he was licensed s, where hehe gospel' was ordained to spread good tidings of joy to all his people, the church where his father had pastored for many which hed the church has served in such a marvelous way as copastor for eight years.
did e'er such love and sorrow meet or thorns compose so rich a crown? ♪ rev. abernathy: let us bow our heads in a moment of solemn utterance. eternal and everlasting god our father, the height of our aspirations, the depth of our existence, thou who art the giver and sustainer of life, from whom all things have come,
and to whom all things shall return, we beseech thy comforting presence in this hour of deepest bereavement. for our hearts are heavily laden with sorrow and remorse at the removal of one of history's truest representatives of thy will and purpose for mankind. while we pray for comfort, we pray for wisdom to guide our thoughts aright at this hour. we hold god in our limited vision and cannot begin to comprehend the true significance of this tragic occurrence. so we raised the perennial question of job, why? as we wait for the moment, we know he had no fear of death.
help us to find consolation in the fact that his life was a gift given to us at this crucial juncture in our history out of the graciousness of thy being. we have no real claims upon it. in the fullness of time, he came and in the fullness of time, he has gone. he knew where he came from, and he knew where he was going. and so as we abide in this knowledge, our gratitude will abate our sorrow. [indiscernible] he that lives for the moment will surely die, but he who lives for eternity and dedicates his life to those ultimate principles of truth, justice, and love, as this man has done,
will never die. inspire us to accept the imperative that is life so fully exemplified, that we must not judge the worth of our lives by their physical longevity, but by the quality of their service to mankind. he has shown us how to live, o god. he has shown us how to love, yet the manner of his teaching and the manner of his being was both strange and unfamiliar in our world. a world that abounds in war, hatred, and racism. a world that exalts the wicked and crew survives -- and crucifies the righteous. a world where a word of condemnation is familiar, where a word of kindness is strange. so this man was a peculiar man. he taught a peculiar teaching.
so he was not of this world. grant that the congress and president of this nation, who have been so generous and gracious in their memorial tribute, will be guided by the memory of this suffering servant and will use their legislative powers, determined to pass without compromise or reservation, legislation so vitally needed to preserve domestic tranquility and social disruption. grant, o lover of peace, that we will effectively negotiate for a peaceful settlement in vietnam, to end the criminal atrocities committed in the name of democracy. turn our hearts, o god, to hear and respond to the echoes of this undying voice of the ages, a voice of love and hopeciliation, a voice of
and confidence in the future. grant that in response to his sacrifice, we will bring forward that day when the long and tragic tune of man's inhumanity to man will resolve into a chorus of peace and brotherhood. angerove will turn out and grant us peace. this is our prayer. grant us thy gracious benediction. lord, thou hast been the dwelling pace -- place of
generations. before the mountains were brought for us and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting. [indiscernible] for 1000 years in thy shadow, passing over the watch of a night. the first several verses of the 90th psalm. the lord is my shepherd, i shall not want. he maketh me to lie down in green pastures. he leadeth me beside the still waters. he feeds my soul. hymn]ging
>> all the hymns that we sang in this service are favorite hymns of martin luther king, but somehow i have the feeling that this was his most favorite hymn. i think we do him a great injustice when we do not ring it out with our baritone voices, as he so often lifted the room, singing it. let me invite this congregation to join the choir and sing it as martin would have sung it. [organ playing] singing]er
rev. abernathy: and seeing the multitudes, he went up into the mountain, and when he was set, his disciples came unto him. he opened his mouth and taught them, saying blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. blast are they -- blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.
blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see god. blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of god. blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake theirs is the kingdom of , heaven. blessed are they who go through all manner of evils. rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven. for those who persecuted the prophets [indiscernible]
rev. abernathy: all of those who have assisted in conducting this service up to this point are well known to this family, to this church, and to this community. the reverend and sisters of this church. and now we will have a brief dr. harold. by he is a professor at wesley theological seminary in and he had the., privilege of serving as dr.
atg's mentor and professor boston university. >> it was a privilege to teach martin luther king, to march with him in mississippi, to agonize and pray with him in the midst of the worst violence in saint augustine. to go through great volumes of his private papers, organizing them, to spend many days and nights in his home. i know the innermost thoughts of this man as deeply as i know any man on earth. it has been the highest privilege of my life, this
.ersonal friendship [indiscernible] now those eloquent lips are still. his knowledge ranged widely and his prophetic wisdom penetrated deeply into human affairs. now that knowledge and that wisdom have been transcended as he shares in the divine wisdom of eternity. the apostle paul has told us that when all other experiences and virtues of humanity have been left behind, faith, hope, and love remain. but the greatest of these is love. martin exemplified all three
in the rarest intensity. amid the tempestuous seas and storms of injustice, hateful violence which threatened the very life of mankind, his faith was a solid, immovable rock. he received hundreds of threats upon his life, yet for 13 years he walked among them unafraid. to dotal commitment was god's will for him. his trust was in god alone. on that rock of faith, god raised in him a lighthouse of hope. no white backlash nor black backlash nor massive indifference could cause him to despair. he dreamed a dream of world
brotherhood, and unlike most of us, he gave himself absolutely to work for the fulfillment of this inspired hope. in that lighthouse of hope, god delighted -- lighted in martin a torch of love. he loved all men, even the hate-filled foe of all he represented. he tried sympathetically to understand. he sought to relieve the slavery of the oppressors and the -- as well as that of the oppressed. while overburdened by incredible pressures upon his time and energy, he had time to bring comfort and counsel to a brief ved boy he hadrea
never seen before, or to park a car for a confused woman who was a complete stranger. what a legacy of love he has left to his faithful and gifted wife, and these four dear children, they now share his dream, his faith, hope, and love. they and the faithful band of non-violent crusaders who had been unfailingly with him from montgomery all the way to memphis. they are too few. they have already made such a costly sacrifice. it is now for us, all the millions of the living who care, to take up his torch of love. it is for us to finish his work, to end the awful destruction in vietnam, to remove every trace of race prejudice from our
lives, to bring the massive powers of this nation to aid the oppressed and heal the hate-scarred world. god rest your soul. dear martin, you have fought the good fight. you have finished your course. you have kept the faith. yours is now the triumphant drum of righteousness. your dream is now ours. may god make us worthy and able to carry your torch of love and march on to brotherhood. amen.
on that day at the hotel in memphis, tennessee, when we ordered lunch, the waitress brought one salad, and martin took a small portion of that salad and left the other, and then she brought another salad. which was to be my salad, and he took a small portion of that, and she only brought one order of fish. someone reminded her that there
should have been two orders. he said, don't worry about it, ralph and i can eat from the same plate. i ate my last meal last thursday noon, and i am seeking to fast in an effort to purify my soul. and i will not eat bread or meat. i will continue my fast until i am thoroughly satisfied and convinced that i am ready for the task which is at hand.
i feel lifted by your prayers. .isten to him as he preaches christianity clearly affirms that in the long struggle between good and evil, good eventually will emerge as victor. evil is ultimately doomed by the powerful forces of good. good friday must give way to the triumphant music of easter. hands choke the sprouting neck
of growing peace, but when the harvest is doomed, the evil pears will be separated from the good feed. caesar occupies a palace and christ the cross. but the same christ rose up and fixed history in the ad and bc so that even the light of caesar was subsequently [indiscernible] long ago did religion recognize what william: brian affirmed. christ will rise again. i am convinced that if we
succumb to the temptation to use violence in our struggle for freedom, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and definite night of bitterness, and our chief legacy to them will be a never-ending reign of chaos. and martin preached, a voice echoing through the corridors of time -- saying intemperate peter, put up thy sword. for he that fighteth by the sword will perish by the sword. history is cluttered with the
wreckage of peoples and of nations that failed to follow christ's commands. and he preached again -- at times, we need to know that the lord is a god of justice. when slumbering giants of injustice emerge, we need to know that there is a god of power who can cut them down like the grass and leave them with a ring like the green -- leave them with a ring -- withering like the earth. when our tireless efforts failed to stop this sweep of oppression, we need to know that in this universe is a god whose
strength is a contrast to the wickedness of man. there are also times when we need to know that god possesses love and mercy. when we are staggered by the chilling winds of diversity and battered by the raging storms of disappointment, and when through our folly and sin, we stray into some destructive, far country and are frustrated because of some strange feeling of homesickness, we need to know that there is someone who loves us, cares for us, understands us, and will give us another chance.
when days grow dark and nights grow dreary, we can be thankful that our god combines in his nature a creative synthesis of love and a justice which will lead us through life's dark and into paths of hope and fulfillment. and finally, he preached, as did jesus -- you have heard it said youu.s. a whole -- said to as a whole, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. but a new commandment give i
>> amen. would gather at the places of mass meetings, and wonderful experiences, fighting for justice and equality for wanted martin always the people in the mood for singing. and we would seek to sing our troubles away and bring joy into our hearts. >> bring this service to a lose now by singing one of his .avorites
from en we will take body to the mule train which is waiting in -- to the train in front of this church, and to the thousands of people who say that martin belongs to them. and as i take the body to that that i am going to ask verend english will remain and keep the congregation seated and the family seated until we have cleared the way out in front of the church.
last sermon played to us now. >> we all think about it, and every now and then i think about my own death, and i think my own funeral, and i don't think of it in a morbid sense. every now and then i ask myself what is it that i would want said, and i leave the word to you this morning. if any of i around when i have to meet my day, i don't want a long funeral. and if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. tell them not to mention that i have a nobel peace prize. that doesn't important. tell them not to mention that i have 300 or 400 other awards. that is not important. tell them not to mention where i went to school. i would like somebody to
mention that day that martin luther king jr. tried to give his life serving his god. i would like for somebody to say that day that martin luther king jr. tried to love somebody . i want you to say that day that i tried to be right on the walk. i want you to be able to say that day that i did try to feed the hungry. i want you to be able to say that day that i did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. i want you to say on that day that i did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. and i want you to say that i tried to love and serve humanity. yes, if you want to say that i i a drum major, say that was a drum major for justice forks peace and for
righteousness, and all of the other shallows things will not matter. i won't have any money to leave behind. i won't have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. but i just want to leave a committed life behind. that is all i want to say. if i can help somebody as i pass along, if i can cheer somebody with a word for them, if i can show somebody he is traveling wrong, then my living will not be in vain. if i can do my duty as a hristian, if i can bring sal -- salvation to a world once lost, if i can spread the message as the master taught, then my living women not be in vain. yes, jesus, i want to be on your right or your left side. not for any selfish reason. i want to be on your right or your left side not in times of
oul, but we commit his body to the rebound. , no vault, crypt no stone can hold his greatness , but we commit his body to the round. > ashes ashes, dust to dust. >> we commend his deeds to all mankind, his services and sacrifices to all generations. we commend his legacy of courage and love to ourselves, our children and our children's
children. we commend his life to the universe. thank the god who gave us a leader who heal the white man's sickness and the black man's slavery. we give thanks to god, who gave us a peaceful warrior, who built an army and a movement that is mighty without missiles , able without an atomic , senal, ready without rockets , an army ut bullets tutored in living and loving and not in killing. we thank god for giving us a leader who was willing to die but not willing to kill.
memphis on c-span and american on ory tv on c-span 3, on c-span we are there. live coverage from the middleton. and on american history tv tuesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, are keisel events, including cbs news anchor walter con kite announcing dr. king's assassination and a portion of his funeral in atlanta. and wednesday, live coverage with civil rights leaders past and press, including john edelman, on write and tamika wright murray. live tuesday and wednesday on
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