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Martin Luther King–Letting Justice Run Down Like Water



You know my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled by the iron feet of oppression… If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong. And if we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong. If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer that never came down to Earth. If we are wrong, justice is a lie, love has no meaning. And we are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Address to the first Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) Mass Meeting, at Holt Street Baptist Church, Dec. 5, 1955

Listen to George Frederick Handel’s Coronation Anthem No. 2, composed to the words of Psalms 89:14-15, “Let thy hand be strengthened and thy right hand be exalted./Let justice and judgment be the preparation of thy seat!/Let mercy and truth go before thy face./Let justice, judgment, mercy and truth go before thy face.” Performed here in a 1963 recording by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge with the English Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Sir David Willcocks. The Psalm and the Anthem mark the sovereign’s paramount duty to dispense justice, however inconvenient or painful this process may be, as the essential task assuring the legitimacy of the state.

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