The crowd was angry at what had happened, and there was a lot of tension between the police and those who had gathered, some of whom were armed with guns, rocks, and bottles. In the midst of all of the turmoil, I said a silent prayer for the protection of our family and the restoration of peace. Then Martin began to speak to the crowd from the front porch of our home. "My wife and baby are all right, " he said. "I want you to go home and put down your weapons. We cannot solve this problem through retaliatory violence. We must meet violence with nonviolence."
As Martin continued to speak, I was enveloped by a growing calm. "God is with us," I thought. "God is truly with us." The fear and anger around me began to melt like the receding snows of spring. Almost at that moment, Martin concluded his remarks to the crowd: "Remember, if I am stopped, this movement will not stop, because God is with this movement. Go home with this glowing faith and this radiant assurance."
Martin's speech on that day was yet another crucial turning point for our freedom struggle because it set the tone of nonviolence that gave our movement its unique credibility and enabled all of the victories we achieved under his leadership.
From that day on, I was fully prepared for my role as Martin's wife and partner in the struggle. There would be many more days of difficulty and worry, and there would be many more prayers. But the unwavering belief that we were doing God's work became a daily source of faith and courage that undergirded our freedom movement.
It is said that every prayer is heard and every prayer is answered in some way, and I believe this is true for people of all faiths. I still believe that the millions of prayers spoken by African Americans from the Middle Passage on down to today have been heard by a righteous and loving God.