Billy Graham and Martin Luther King, Jr.


As the U.S. prepares to vote for a new president and some ponder whether the nation has achieved his dream of racial equality, we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I have a dream,” cried Martin Luther King, Jr., on August 28, 1963, “…that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
On Monday, Jan. 16, when the world stops to remember a civil rights figure who fought for social and political change, Billy Graham will be remembering a man he counted as a friend.
Describing a 1957 Crusade meeting in New York City, Mr. Graham writes in his autobiography, “One night civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whom I was pleased to count a friend, gave an eloquent opening prayer at the service; he also came at my invitation to one of our Team retreats during the Crusade to help us understand the racial situation in America more fully.”
As their friendship grew, King asked Mr. Graham to call him by his nickname. “His father,” explains Graham, “who was called Big Mike, called him Little Mike. He asked me to call him just plain Mike.”
Martin Luther King, Jr., entered the Christian ministry and was ordained in February 1948 at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, at the age of 19. In 1954, upon completion of graduate studies at Boston University, he accepted a call to serve at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala.
While there, King was an instrumental leader in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, made famous by the nonviolent resistance and arrest of Rosa Parks. He resigned from Dexter Avenue Baptist in 1959 to move back to Atlanta to direct the activities of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. 
From 1960 until his death in 1968, he also served as co-pastor with his father at Ebenezer Baptist Church.
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