Revisiting MLK’s “Commitment Card”

On Saturday, I attended the 14th Annual MLK Human Rights conference in Bellingham, Washington. I was there at the invitation of some friends who are doing important work on behalf of victims of human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children in Whatcom County. Their presentation was great, and I plan to share a bit more about that this month, which has been designated by President Obama as Anti-Trafficking month in the United States.

But today is Martin Luther King, Jr. day. I am grateful for this holiday and what it signifies. I am grateful for the work of Dr. King, and I pray that his legacy will live on. Part of how that will happen is that present and future generations will continue to remember and reflect on the battle he fought and sacrificed on behalf of. My own legacy is closely tied to the Civil Rights Movement in America. My father rode from Detroit to D.C. for the historic March on Washington, and he still gets a lump in his throat talking about his experiences as part of the non-violent movement spearheaded by Dr. King.

On Saturday, I listened to a speaker talk about MLK, and one of the things he did was highlight the “Commitment Card” Dr. King asked everyone participating in his movement to sign. I had never heard of this before, but as I read each of the points of this covenant, I was stirred to revisit my own devotion to God and my fellow human beings.

Here are the words that were on Dr. King’s Commitment Card. I have them printed out and plan to carry them as my own testimony of covenant to uphold the things Dr. King stood for.

I invite you to do the same:

Commitment Card
Martin Luther King, Jr, 1963:

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.

Name __________________
Nearest Relative___________
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.

Birmingham Affiliate of S.C.L.C.
505 1/2 North 17th Street
F.L. Shuttlesworth, President

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