Words That Shaped a Vision of Equality: King's Papers

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The words are carefully written in pencil on top of a page torn from spiral notebooks: "Loving Your Enemies." They are scribbled hastily on a torn, creased sheet, cutting across its ruled lines: "We come to the seat of government." They are squeezed into the yellowed margins of annotated books: "Religion must work here." They are written on a frayed slip of paper, folded as if long-carried in a wallet: "Gandhi speaks for us."

And they appear in red ink boldly printed across a telegram invitation from the White House to witness the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965: "Important!!"

Such are the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., found in his sermons, letters, speeches and notes. And seeing so many of them together — displayed over 20,000 square feet at Sotheby's in New York — makes it possible to come in intimate contact with an extraordinary mind that shaped the civil rights movement and gave new texture to the American dream. These writings — selected from a 7,000-page cache of Dr. King's papers — create a chronicle of his life from 1946 until his assassination in 1968.

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