King's link to Boston's past

Theodore Parker in 1856

Theodore Parker lecturing in 1856.

Martin Luther King's connections to Boston are well known: He got his PhD in religion at Boston University while living on Mass. Ave. in the South End, met his wife here, later returned for a march from Roxbury to downtown.

But King's connections go further, back into Boston's history as a center of the abolition movement before the Civil War.

One of King's more quoted sayings is that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

In his original use of the phrase, he put it inside quotation marks because he was paraphrasing Theodore Parker, a Unitarian minister from West Roxbury who got kicked out the Unitarian church (the church later reconciled with him), started his own congregation in Boston and became active in the abolition movement (in fact, was indicted for his role in trying to keep Anthony Burns, an escaped slave in Boston from being sent back South).

In 1853, Parker published a collection of sermons, including one titled Of Justice and the Conscience, in which he wrote:

Look at the facts of the world. You see a continual and progressive triumph of the right. I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can devine it by conscience. But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.

Image from the Illustrated London News, Sept. 27, 1856, from the Library of Congress.



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What progress has been made

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What progress has been made on renaming Yawkey Way and Faneuil Hall?

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Why don't you tell us?

Why don't you tell us?

Not sure what the point of renaming Faneuil Hall would be, though. Yawkey was already a street that was renamed in honor of active contemporary racists.

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Yawkey: Some, Faneuil: None

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However there are bigger fish to fry: like Dukakis' decision to take the Orange Line out of Roxbury and then break his equal rail service pledge.

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A Picture Is Worth ...

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Great picture. Drives home the role of Boston in influencing MLK Jr.

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