Resourcing Progressive Christians

“We Gonna Overcome”

Montgomery, Alabama. 1965. 100,000 people demonstrating for voting rights. Tex Sample was there.

Finally the time came for Dr. King’s speech. I still regard that speech in Montgomery as the equal of the one that he had made in Washington in 1963. And when Dr. King enters into the last part of that speech, he began a kind of a call and response with himself, initially. He shouts out: “How long?” and he responds to himself, “Not long! How long? Not long! How long? Not long because no lie can live forever!  How long? Not long!  Because while the arc of the moral universe is long, it bends toward justice!” “How long?!  Not long!” “How long?! Not long!” And then he shouted at us, “How long?” and those thousands of people got up off the ground and on their feet and shouted back, “NOT LONG!!!!”

Although the day culminated in Dr. King’s inspiring speech, there were other profound experiences of grace along the way…


Former Academic Dean and Emeritus Professor of Church and Society at the Saint Paul School of Theology, Sample is a freelance lecturer, workshop leader, consultant, and storyteller. His books include Ministry in an Oral Culture: Living with Will Rogers, Uncle Remus, and Minnie Pearl, and co-editor of The Loyal Opposition: Struggling with the Church on Homosexuality. He is currently the coordinator of the Network for the Study of U.S. Lifestyles.

Excerpted from Living the Questions 2.0,
Episode 16: Social Justice:
“Realizing God’s Vision”
(Available as both a Small Group study and in a Home Edition for personal use at

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