Clyburn Statement On This Year's Observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Jan 29, 2014

WASHINGTON -- Assistant Democratic Leader today released the following statement on this year’s observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day:

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have turned 85 years old this month were he still alive. I met Dr. King many times during the civil rights movement when I helped organize the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which came to be known as SNCC, and played a major role in protests against injustice in the Jim Crow South.

"Dr. King’s work and writings had a major effect on my life and led me toward public service as a pathway to social justice in this country. In particular, I consider Dr. King’s Letter from the Birmingham City Jail second only to the Bible as insightful and influential writings. That letter was in response to a letter Dr. King received from eight white clergymen who considered the civil rights movement a disruptive force and counseled us to wait for the courts to address the issues of racial segregation and oppression.

"Dr. King countered that ‘time is neutral; it can be used either constructively or destructively’ and decried the ‘appalling silence of good people.’ So the question is what are you going to do with your time? Are you making good use of your time or are you allowing people of ill will to turn back the clock against hard-won progress? As we observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I urge all citizens to reflect on Dr. King’s words and resolve to use our time working for progress toward a more perfect Union.”