The election of the nation's first African American as President prompted numerous acts of racial hatred.
Nooses appeared in trees on the campus of Baylor University in Waco, Texas (take a look here) and on the property of Bell Helicopter here in the Metroplex. The Terrell, Texas newspaper didn't feel the election outcome important enough to merit front page coverage. Other examples abound.
Racism and hatred based on racial categories remain very much alive and well in the United States today.
Beyond the deep, grave sadness, I am lifted by the amazing words of America's greatest preacher of all time, a man of great courage, integrity and strength. Sadly, a man I heard vilified when I was a child, even in the church.
Hear him out today:
The relevance of what I have said to the crisis in race relations should be readily apparent. There will be no permanent solution to the, race problem until oppressed men develop the capacity to love their enemies. The darkness of racial injustice will be dispelled only by the light of forgiving love. For more than three centuries American Negroes have been battered by the iron rod of oppression, frustrated by day and bewildered by night by unbearable injustice and burdened with the ugly weight of discrimination. Forced to live with these shameful conditions, we are tempted to become bitter and to retaliate with a corresponding hate. But if this happens, the new order we seek will be little more than a duplicate of the old order. We must in strength and humility meet hate with love.
My friends, we have followed the so-called practical way for too long a time now, and it has led inexorably to deeper confusion and chaos. Time is cluttered with the wreckage of communities which surrendered to hatred and violence. For the salvation of our nation and the salvation of mankind, we must follow another way.
While abhorring segregation, we shall love the segregationist. This is the only way to create the beloved community.
To our most bitter opponents we say: "We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process and our victory will be a double victory."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered this message to the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, Christmas 1957.