Music and the Spoken Word

Equal Persons - Sunday, January 17, 2016

Much of the strength of our nation comes from its people and their determination to make life better—their resolute unwillingness to accept injustice and oppression. Such determination comes with many challenges, but history has shown that freedom is born in only one way, and that’s by courageous people fighting through adversity.

Without question, one of those courageous people was Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery in the early 1800s, Douglass secretly learned to read as a boy and even began teaching other slaves. But his efforts earned brutal punishments from slave owners. He finally escaped bondage at age 21, found employment, raised a family, and created a life of honor and respect, becoming a celebrated orator and writer—all the while trying to avoid being recaptured. He used his gifts to profoundly influence public views on the plight of black slaves and even advised President Abraham Lincoln.

Years later Douglass wrote to his former master, recounting the “deep agony of soul” he felt on the morning of his flight from slavery. Though he escaped in broad daylight, he described it as “a leap in the dark, . . . like going to war without weapons—ten chances of defeat to one of victory.”1 But of course he had to try. “We are two distinct persons, equal persons,” he explained. “What you are, I am. You are a man, and so am I. God created both.”2

A century later, Reverend Martin Luther King continued Frederick Douglass’s quest. In an effort to strike down continued injustice, he called for Americans to rededicate themselves to the commandment from the Bible: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”3

The course has not been easy, nor is it yet fully realized. But we can take hope in our ongoing efforts to correct wrongs, to embrace one another as equal persons and citizens of one nation. This is, after all, a “sweet land of liberty,” the “land where [our] fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride.” So “from ev’ry mountainside let freedom ring!”4

1. In Letters of a Nation: A Collection of Extraordinary American Letters, ed. Andrew Carroll (1997), 95.
2. In Letters of a Nation, 96.
3. Mark 12:31.
4. “My Country, ’Tis of Thee,” Hymns, no. 339.

Jan. 17, 2016
Broadcast Number 4,505

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

The Power of Dreams

Mack Wilberg
Ryan Murphy

Guest Artist
Alex Boyé

Andrew Unsworth

Lloyd Newell

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands
Spiritual; arr. Mack Wilberg

Peace like a River
Spiritual; arr. Mack Wilberg

I’m Runnin’ On
Spiritual; arr. Mack Wilberg

Prelude on “Great Day”
Spiritual; arr. Andrew Unsworth

I Want Jesus to Walk with Me
Spiritual; arr. Moses Hogan

My Country, ’Tis of Thee
Traditional hymn tune; arr. Mack Wilberg