I read a short but great article on the Billy Graham website about Billy Graham's relationship with Martin Luther King, Jr. On this day that we celebrate the legacy of Dr. King I thought that I might share a bit from that article.
Describing a 1957 meeting in New York City, Mr. Graham writes in his autobiography, "One night civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whom I was pleased to count a friend, gave an eloquent opening prayer at the service; he also came at my invitation to one of our Team retreats during the Crusade to help us understand the racial situation in America more fully."I suggest that you read the entire piece here. I am encouraged knowing that these two were friends. Both of them have exhibited in their lives such a love for God and for the people He loves. I admire them both.
King credited Mr. Graham with having a significant part in reducing the tension between whites and blacks in the South. In 1965, Mr. Graham canceled a tour of Europe to preach a series of crusades in Alabama, praying that the Gospel would tear down walls of division between the races and seeing the importance of his work alongside King’s.
King later said, “Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend, Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the civil rights movement would not have been as successful as it has been.”
During the civil rights movement, Mr. Graham preached, “Jesus was not a white man; He was not a black man. He came from that part of the world that touches Africa and Asia and Europe. Christianity is not a white man’s religion and don’t let anybody ever tell you that it’s white or black. Christ belongs to all people; He belongs to the whole world.”
Mr. Graham was in Australia at the time of King’s death. He remembers the moment someone approached him with news of King’s assassination, which was followed by journalists seeking a quote: “I was almost in a state of shock. Not only was I losing a friend through a vicious and senseless killing, but America was losing a social leader and a prophet, and I felt his death would be one of the greatest tragedies in our history."
...originally posted January, 2012.