King asserts that God's grace enables one to turn liabilities into opportunities.1 Noting that “we as a people have the handicap of oppression and injustice,” King draws inspiration from the resilience of slaves, whose “bottomless [vitality] transformed the fatigue of despair into the buoyancy of hope.”
II Cor 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness2
1. King wrote the first page of this outline on the verso of a 3 November 1959 letter ripped in half. Although missing the sender's name, the text indicates the author was Thomas H. Randall. King wrote the last two pages of the sermon on a sheet of Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) stationery that was torn in half.
2. Cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9.
3. King's sermon file contained his handwritten note about the violinist Ole Bull, who continued to play when his A string broke (King, When Your A String Breaks, Sermon notes, 1959).
4. King may refer to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's ability to pursue a successful political career despite his paralysis.
5. In his sermon “Overcoming an Inferiority Complex,” King observed that a young Abraham Lincoln had been “one of the most discouraged men that ever lived” until he gave his life to the cause of anti-slavery (King, “Overcoming an Inferiority Complex,” 14 July 1957, p. 314 in this volume).
6. King may refer to Ludwig van Beethoven's deafness and the blindness of John Milton and George Frideric Handel. King also referred to Milton's blindness in Unfulfilled Hopes, Sermon Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, 5 April 1959, p. 363 in this volume.
7. In a sermon filed in the same folder as this document, King listed Booker T. Washington, Roland Hayes, and Mary McLeod Bethune as African Americans who “demonstrate to us that we can make it in on broken pieces” (King, “Making It in on Broken Pieces,” 4 August 1963).
8. King may be referring to Langston Hughes's 1922 poem “Mother to Son,” as he does in the prepared text of the 1957 speech, “The Montgomery Story” (King, “The Montgomery Story,” Address at 47th Annual NAACP convention, 27 June 1956, in Papers 3:310). He preceded the poem with the comment, “We must continue to move on in the face of every obstacle.”
CSKC-INP, Coretta Scott King Collection, In Private Hands, Sermon file, folder 82, "Making It in on Broken Pieces."