Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes 1968
"Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution", an address at the Episcopal National Cathedral, Washington D.C.
Martin Luther King, Jr.      1968-04-31  Source vote up this quote facebook share quote tweet this quote
Misattributed to King. King indeed said, "Let us be dissatisfied until from every city hall, justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." Although the quotation is frequently attributed to King, he was restating the words of the prophet Amos, recorded in the Bible, Amos 5:24: "But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream" (KJV), or "But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream" (NRSV). People were familiar with the Old Testament prophets during the Civil Rights Movement and understood that this was a Biblical reference not original to Dr. King.
You know, several years ago, I was in New York City autographing the first book that I had written. And while sitting there autographing books, a demented black woman came up. The only question I heard from her was, "Are you Martin Luther King?" And I was looking down writing, and I said yes. And the next minute I felt something beating on my chest. Before I knew it I had been stabbed by this demented woman. I was rushed to Harlem Hospital. It was a dark Saturday afternoon. And that blade had gone through, and the X-rays revealed that the tip of the blade was on the edge of my aorta, the main artery. And once that's punctured, you drown in your own blood - that's the end of you. It came out in the New York Times the next morning, that if I had sneezed, I would have died. Well, about four days later, they allowed me, after the operation, after my chest had been opened, and the blade had been taken out, to move around in the wheel chair in the hospital. They allowed me to read some of the mail that came in, and from all over the states, and the world, kind letters came in. I read a few, but one of them I will never forget. I had received one from the President and the Vice-President. I've forgotten what those telegrams said. I'd received a visit and a letter from the Governor of New York, but I've forgotten what the letter said. But there was another letter that came from a little girl, a young girl who was a student at the White Plains High School. And I looked at that letter, and I'll never forget it. It said simply, "Dear Dr. King: I am a ninth-grade student at the Whites Plains High School." She said, "While it should not matter, I would like to mention that I am a white girl. I read in the paper of your misfortune, and of your suffering. And I read that if you had sneezed, you would have died. And I'm simply writing you to say that I'm so happy that you didn't sneeze." And I want to say tonight, I want to say that I am happy that I didn't sneeze.
I've Been to the Mountaintop (1968)

Prev 1 of 2 Next

Follow Terraquote on Twitter

Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes by year:


Make the user experience better for other Terraquote users. If you find a quote interesting - whether you agree with it or not - click this vote up quote to vote for that quote, make it more easily found by other users.