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Rabbi Pays Tribute to Dr. King

January 19, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Rabbi Arthur Schneier, president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation and rabbi of the Park East Synagogue here, joined Mrs. Coretta Scott King and the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young, in paying tribute to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at his 50th birthday anniversary ceremonies held in Atlanta, which ended Tuesday.

Schneier, the only rabbi at the ceremonies, said, “As a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust, I personally experienced man’s inhumanity to man. In spite of this, I have never given up my hope in man. Martin Luther King Jr., at the height of his suffering and oppression, had faith in overcoming evil. He cared deeply not only for his own people but for the freedom, rights and dignity of all of God’s children.”

Schneier quoted from a letter by the late civil rights leader on behalf of Soviet Jewry, published in the New York Times on January 14, 1965. “The struggle of the Negro people for freedom is inextricably interwoven with the universal struggle of all peoples to be free from discrimination and oppression. The Jewish people must be given their full rights.”

Schneier stressed that “non-violence was the philosophy of Dr. King in his struggle for human freedom and peace in the spirit of the Prophet Zechariah, ‘Not by might nor by power but by my spirit says the Lord.'” (Chapter IV, Verse 6) Schneier lauded Mrs. King, president of the Martin Luther King Center for Social Change, for championing her husband’s unfulfilled dream, by quoting from Proverbs 31, “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor, she reached out her hand to the needy.”

Other speakers at the ceremonies were Prime Minister Olaf Ullsten of Sweden, UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, Gov. George Busby of Georgia, and Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson Earlier, President Carter addressed the gathering and was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Prize. Those present included the Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Yehuda Blum, and Egypt’s Ambassador to the UN, Abdul Meguid. Blum participated in the wreath-laying ceremony at the graveside of King and also laid a special wreath in the name of Israel.

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