the arc of the moral universe is long

“We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’m using this quote to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as the inauguration of our new president. These words were actually borrowed from the anti-slavery Unitarian minister Theodore Parker who wrote in the 19th century, “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 divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”

President Obama used the King quote frequently and even had the words woven into a rug in the White House.

In this time of sadness and violence, these are hopeful words that I hold close to my heart because I do believe the arc of the universe bends towards justice, but it needs our hands to bend it far enough to change our world for the better.

3 Comments

  1. DELORES on January 17, 2021 at 7:51 am

    I hope and pray you and Dr. King are right. This is a sad time in American history, and I am puzzled by the willingness of people to be part of violence because they are committed to a man over allegiance to this country and the Constitution. I spent hours on the phone with an old friend this week whom I haven’t seen in twenty years because of physical distance. When I realized the radical views this person has, our distance is not just physical. This person could not give a shred of evidence for her beliefs—only “they say” or “he says.” Truly a sad time in America.

  2. Adelyn Grudier on January 17, 2021 at 3:49 pm

    I have my curiousity peaked by your reference to the rug that Obama had woven for the White House. Did they take the rug with them when they moved or was it govt. property. I ask this because I would like to see the rug and wonder if it is part of the moving parade of items leaving the building.
    In all my years I don’t ever remember seeing things moving out of the White House. It somehow mysteriously just went from one resident to the other. I do remember reading that there was a crew standing by on inauguration day and they went in en masse and moved one family out and another in. But we never saw them at work or at least we didn’t get to see that footage.
    I am one who always wonders what goes on behind the scenes and I sure would like to be a fly on the wall in that location right now.

    • Emilie Richards on January 17, 2021 at 4:40 pm

      Here’s what I found online. “If the next administration redecorates the office, which is tradition, and orders new flooring, Obama’s rug will go into the archives of the National Parks Service, Ruggeri said.”

      Since we know how little our current president admired President Obama, I think we can assume the oval office was immediately redecorated in Trumpian style. So hopefully Obama’s rug is now happily in the Parks Service archives. Here’s more about that: https://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/2016/07/obamas_favorite_piece_of_white.html

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