Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – The Drum Major Instinct

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.“The Drum Major Instinct” was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s final sermon to his congregation at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia on 4 February 1968. Ironically, and perhaps even prophetically, in this sermon Dr. King speaks of his own funeral services.

Two months later, at 6:01 p.m. on 4 April 1968, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was hit by a sniper’s bullet. He had been standing on the balcony in front of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, when, without warning, he was shot. The .30-caliber rifle bullet entered King’s right cheek, traveled through his neck, and finally stopped at his shoulder blade. He was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead at 7:05 PM.

Two services were held for Dr. King in Atlanta on April 9. The first funeral was at 10:30 a.m. at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where both he and his father had served as pastors for many years. Since it could only hold 1,300 people, attendance was restricted to family, friends, distinguished guests and members of the congregation. A second service was held for the public in the quadrangle of Morehouse College, Dr. King’s Alma Mater, later that afternoon. Numerous tributes to his life were given at both events. [1]

The text of this sermon can be found here.