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Dr. King's Love and Respect of Music

As we reflect on one of the most influential figures in American history, I wanted to share some insights on the influence of music on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life.

Many of us know about Dr. King's faith and the profound influence of the church in all that he stood for. One major aspect of the church's influence was through music. As we look into his life we discover that from an early age Dr. King was taught the power and influence of music. As a young boy, Dr. King studied piano and sang in the church choir at his father's church. As he grew older, he would often talk about the importance of music in our lives.

As a young man, it was music that introduced Dr. King to his future wife, Coretta Scott. Coretta was studying music on scholarship at the prestigious New England Conservatory where she was respected as a talented soprano (in high school she played piano and trumpet!). Dr. King was serving as an assistant pastor and pursuing a PhD in Theology at Boston University when the two met on a blind date in 1951. The couple fell in love and were married two years later.

Music continued to be a major influence on the couple and Dr. King spoke several times about the importance of music and how it could be an "instrument of change".

Here are some of his quotes:

"Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us."

"My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary."

"Music is one of the fairest and most glorious gifts of God, to which Satan is a bitter enemy; for it removes from the heart the weight of sorrow, and the fascination of evil thoughts."

"I have no pleasure in any man who despises music. It is no invention of ours: it is a gift of God."

"Those who love music are gentle and honest in their tempers. I always loved music, and would not, for a great matter, be without the little skill which I possess in the art."

"Music is a discipline, and a mistress of order and good manners, she makes the people milder and gentler, more moral and more reasonable."




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