As we honor the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his fight for civil rights today, I’d like to high-light another civil rights leader who has continued to fight for racial equality: Dr. John Perkins.
End to Racism
Dr. John Perkins
MLK, Jr. began fearlessly and nonviolently fighting for civil rights in 1955. His impassioned speeches motivated others to join him. His “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 called for an end to racism.
In 1965, MLK, Jr. was assassinated because of his beliefs. But his legacy still continues after 53 years.
As well-known as MLK, Jr. was in the civil rights community, John Perkins was spreading the same message in Mississippi.
After giving his life to Christ in 1957, John began fearlessly and nonviolently fighting for civil rights for his black brothers and sisters. He, like MLK, Jr., faced beatings, slander, and false imprisonment in the fight for racial equality.
Let Justice Roll Down
Let Justice Roll Down
His book Let Justice Roll Down gives detailed accounts of the atrocities done to the black community in the 1960’s. It also describes his tireless efforts to help blacks vote, receive Christian education, and build co-ops to strengthen the economy of the black community.
The title of his book came from this desire: “I kept on longing for the day when it would be Christians in the forefront, taking seriously the words of the prophet Amos:
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (5:23, RSV)
A Quiet Revolution
An honor to take a pic with Dr. Perkins!
In October of 2016, our church hosted “One Sunday: Responding to Racial Tension” with Dr. Perkins. It was clear Perkins feels a sense of urgency with regards to racial reconciliation.
“There is a quiet revolution happening. God is moving in issues of race and ethnicity,” he shared. “Christ chooses to use us broken people to cause change.”
After hearing Dr. Perkins’s impassioned discussion with our pastor, I found myself thinking about his words.
He is well-known for saying, “Love is the final fight.” As terrorist attacks and the divide among races in our country continue, I know he’s right.
Love IS what it’s all about.
Love is the Final Fight
In 2009, the band Switchfoot honored Dr. Perkins by including his famous saying in their song “The Sound.” Check it out!
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On this day of honor and remembrance, I wonder if we could on purpose choose to interact with others IN LOVE. Our flesh often defaults to being politically correct, offended, defensive, or wanting what’s in our best interest.
What if we “fight” past those defaults and choose love instead? Imagine what our world would look like!