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Statement of Delegate Barbara Comstock on Martin Luther King Day
Monday, January 17, 2011

"Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago – To tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that and say a prayer for our country and for our people."

On April 4, 1968, those were the immortal words of Robert F. Kennedy, the brother of the slain President, John F. Kennedy, when he broke the tragic news of Dr. Martin Luther King's death to a crowd in Indiana who had not yet learned of the assassination that evening.

He continued, "So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love – a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke. We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We've had difficult times in the past. And we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it's not the end of disorder. But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of life and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land."

When Dr. King was named Time's Man of the Year in 1964, Time Magazine wrote:

"Few can explain the extraordinary King mystique. Yet he has an indescribable capacity for empathy that is the touchstone of leadership. By deed and by preachment, he has stirred in his people a Christian forbearance that nourishes hope and smothers injustice." Minister Ralph D. Abernathy, whom King called "my dearest friend and cellmate" said, "The people make Dr. King great. He articulates the longings, the hopes, the aspirations of his people in a most earnest and profound manner. He is a humble man, down to earth, honest. He has proved his commitment to Judaeo-Christian ideals."

On Martin Luther King Day 2011, let us once again dedicate ourselves to these ideals.

For Robert F. Kennedy's speech (audio and text):
For Time's "Man of the Year" story:

Paid for by Friends of Barbara Comstock.