In the years when I was toddling around in my parents’ home — a parsonage for the pastor of the Kulm Baptist Church in North Dakota — there was a movement in America that I first came to misunderstand and then slowly began to understand as an adult. It is a journey that I’m still on.
Brenda Salter McNeil posted these “ten commandments” of the movement which she’d heard in church on Sunday and that sent me to the Google where I found this text on a website that offers myriad resources for American History teachers. I share them with little comment today — beyond a recognition that this part of the story I didn’t hear growing up and that this would be a good commitment for any of us to sign now.
So, have you seen this before? Were you aware?
Martin Luther King, Jr.
I hereby pledge myself—my person and body—to the nonviolent movement. Therefore I will keep the following ten commandments:
1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
2. Remember always that the non—violent movement seeks justice and reconciliation — not victory.
3. Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
4. Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.
5. Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men might be free.
6. Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
7. Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.
8. Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
10.Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.
I sign this pledge, having seriously considered what I do and with the determination and will to persevere.
Besides demonstrations, I could also help the movement by: (Circle the proper items)
Run errands, Drive my car, Fix food for volunteers, Clerical work, Make phone calls, Answer phones, Mimeograph, Type, Print Signs, Distribute leaflets.
ALABAMA CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Birmingham Affiliate of S.C.L.C.
505 1/2 North 17th Street
F.L. Shuttlesworth, President