Jimmy Carter photo

Letter to Coretta Scott King on the Anniversary of the Birth of Martin Luther King, Jr.

December 28, 1977

To Coretta Scott King

Not yet half a century has passed since your husband's birth, and he has already been gone from us for almost a decade. This anniversary reminds us forcefully of what one life can mean and of what can be done in a relatively short time to remove the obstacles that have blocked the progress of human beings for generations.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., left us guideposts: his dedication to breaking down the barriers that separated people and his vision of a world where a person's only limitations would be the individual's own will and ability to learn and use opportunities.

The non-violence he practiced requires a spiritual, intellectual and even physical commitment a willingness to risk everything on the principle that you can love your enemies into submission to a higher good. He became the worldwide symbol of the power of that principle and the cost of that commitment.

We must renew our own commitment, must again tap that great power and use it to solve the problems that still face those he always championed, the poor and the oppressed. He taught us that whatever stands in the way of meeting needs can be overcome—even the inertia of the comfortable.

I join you in honoring him and the cause of brotherhood he served.



[Mrs. Coretta Scott King, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Social Change, 671 Beckwith Street, S.W., Atlanta, Georgia 30314]

Note: The letter was announced by the White House on January 13.

Jimmy Carter, Letter to Coretta Scott King on the Anniversary of the Birth of Martin Luther King, Jr. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244898

Filed Under


Simple Search of Our Archives