There is never enough singing - MLK on singing and music

For inspiration on MLK day today I am reading his book “Why we can’t wait.” Martin Luther understood demonstrations, and the effect and power of singing and music. He often talked positively about singing and music. Here are a couple of inspirational MLK quotes:

As long as we live, there is never enough singing.


Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.


Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. No greater commendation than this can be found — at least not by us. After all, the gift of language combined with the gift of song was only given to man to let him know that he should praise God with both word and music, namely, by proclaiming [the Word of God] through music.

Music and singing played a critical role in inspiring, mobilizing, and giving voice to the civil rights movement. “The freedom songs are playing a strong and vital role in our struggle,” said Martin Luther King, Jr., during the Albany Movement. “They give the people new courage and a sense of unity. I think they keep alive a faith, a radiant hope, in the future, particularly in our most trying hours” (Shelton, “Songs a Weapon”).

The evolution of music in the black freedom struggle reflects the evolution of the movement itself. Calling songs “the soul of the movement,” King explained in his 1964 book Why We Can’t Wait that civil rights activists “sing the freedom songs today for the same reason the slaves sang them, because we too are in bondage and the songs add hope to our determination that ‘We shall overcome, Black and white together, We shall overcome someday’” (King, Why, 86).

Every breath I remember Gobind
- Guru Arjan, Raag Gauri
Every moment I sing Gobind.
- Guru Arjan, Raag Malhar