PBS: Martin Luther King and Robert Graetz

PBS Religion & Ethics recently interviewed Rev. Robert Graetz. Rev Graetz and his family have stood with Soulforce in the past and we invite you to learn more about this remarkable man.

KIM LAWTON, correspondent: Although the social revolution led by Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. grew out of the black church, from even the earliest days of the movement there were white foot soldiers, too. King initially came to national prominence while leading the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, where he was serving in his first job as a local pastor, and working closely with him there was a young white pastor named Robert Graetz.

REV. ROBERT GRAETZ: We were here because God brought us here, and in a very real sense this changed the character of the movement here, because it was not totally black then from that point on.

LAWTON: Graetz is now 82 years old and still active in the Montgomery community.

GRAETZ: Fifty years ago we were a praying people…

LAWTON: On this day, he’s participating in the unveiling of a new sign marking a site that was important during the bus boycott. He and his wife, Jean, still work for civil rights, reconciliation, and a vision that began more than 50 years ago, a vision they shared with King called "the beloved community."

GRAETZ: We are all different, but we are still all together in this one relationship, and the key to that kind of a relationship was respect, which means I look at you and I say, you know, "I know that you have value. God put value in you." You look at me and you say the same thing.

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