In His Own Words: Billy Graham on Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 21, 2013

In his autobiography, Billy Graham recounts the moments after hearing of Dr. Martin Luther King’s death in 1968: “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.” As we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are looking back at some other things Billy Graham had to say about his friend.

“I often think of Martin Luther King who was my friend. He said many times that one plus God is a majority.”
–First Russian Prayer Breakfast in Moscow, 1992, when asked about the qualities of leadership that are needed in our world today.

“With a small group of people, Martin Luther King changed the whole social fabric, not only of this nation but made an impact through the world.”
–Atlanta Leadership Luncheon, 1992.

“I think there come times when you have to do something to help people [who] have been unjustly treated or it may be by non-violence as Dr. Martin Luther King and others did. They had to put pressure on to get results because of an unjust oppressive situation in this country.”
–Washington State Press Conference, 1991.

“Martin Luther King was a man of vision.  I remember traveling with him to South America.  We spent about a week together and I remember the talks we had together. … But I remember when he got his Nobel Peace Prize someone asked him, Where did he get the motivation to become the great reformer and the great leader that he was?  And he said from the evangelical preaching of [his] father. In other words he got it from the Gospel, from the Bible.  And we forget a great deal of that.”
– Governors Prayer Breakfast, Atlanta, 1987

“Martin Luther King said the only way that this violence is going to be controlled is through surrender to God. And, he said that in some of his sermons and some of his speeches.”
– Interview with CBS’ Ed Bradley, 1999

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