*Alternate* Second Reading: From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Eulogy for the Martyred Children

The following are words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered during the funeral of the four girls killed in the bombing at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama, September 15, 1963.

These children—unoffending, innocent, and beautiful … are the martyred heroines of a holy crusade for freedom and human dignity. So they have something to say to us in their death … They have something to say to every minister of the gospel who has remained silent behind the safe security of stained-glass windows … They have something to say to each of us, black and white alike, that we must substitute courage for caution … So they did not die in vain … History has proven over and over again that unmerited suffering is redemptive … We must not lose faith in our white brothers. Somehow we must believe that the most misguided among them can learn to respect the dignity and worth of all human personality.

The words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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