Martin Luther King Jr. and Billy Graham shared the conviction that the only solution to racial tension is the love of Christ. Watch this short documentary about how they worked together to change a divided nation.


some people are predicting the

possibility of a race war

it’s not a problem in alabama alone it’s

a world problem

wherever you have two races living

is there an answer yes there is an

answer the answer is in the cross of

jesus christ

and there is a possibility of spiritual


in christ alone


i have some very sad news for all of you

and i think uh sad news for all of our

fellow citizens

and people who love peace all over the


and that is that martin luther king was

shot and was killed tonight

graham i believe you’ve just been

informed of the tragic death of dr

martin luther king jr

yes and uh i was just informed about uh

five minutes ago and it comes as one of

the greatest shocks of my entire life

his friends called him mike and that’s

the way i knew him

billy and martin were good friends and a

lot of whites

damned to billy for that they said why

would you hook yourself up with a

communist he’s no good


billy said no he’s my brother because

billy told him there was a time when i

didn’t take a stand for the race problem

and i preached to segregated audiences

but i got to know martin luther king and


felt what he felt and i took a stain

for an open crusade we demanded

integration almost from the beginning

of our meetings in the south and as a

result i think that this

later groundwork at that time now today

it’s almost impossible for the present

generation to understand

what things were in those days and what

it took to be that way and how many

threatening letters we’ve gotten

how many threats against my family as a

result of the stand that we took at that


i think both dr graham and my father

uh were trying to make the world a

better place

there is no excuse ever by hatred

there is no excuse ever for bigotry

and intolerance and prejudice we are to


as god loved us

we don’t need any woman we don’t need

any physical ammunition

we have a power all we need is to pick

up the ammunition of love

in our hands the weapons of justice now

then put on the best state of

righteousness and the whole




they were different obviously in their

style and their approach

but i think their heart and their goal

was the same

billy graham’s first public acts against

racial segregation

took place at his crusades in the south

during the early 1950s

at the time it was common practice for

ropes to separate the white from the


sections he walked into the

crusade and they had ropes up billy saw


blacks were supposed to sit back of that

and the whites would sit in front

i was appalled at it and decided that i

had to speak out on it had to do

something about it

i said no more of this and

i went to the head usher and asked him

if he would remove the

ropes and he said no he wouldn’t billy

got up from the platform and he walked


past the ushers and took the ropes down


and i remember that the head usher


and there was quite a little flack about


that was a historic moment in history

with the church

and that opened up his friendship with

martin luther king and

other people and he really practiced

what he preached

in a 1956 article published in life


in which billy made a plea for an end to

intolerance he wrote

it is not sufficient to urge people to

love their neighbor

unless we lead them also to the capacity

to love

christ gives men this capacity we must

meet christ we must know him

as our lord and our savior believe on

the lord jesus christ and now shall be


if we confess with our mouths the lord

jesus and believe in our hearts

we shall be safe his approach was more

of trying to get people into the

relationship with christ that that would

transform their mindset

in the way in which they live so they

will see people differently

um and thus treat people differently

everybody’s calling

is not the same and mr graham’s calling

is the proclamation of the gospel

in which um if he can reach men’s hearts

through the spirit of god that can

change a man’s whole life


billy’s burden to end the blight of

racism through evangelism

continued to motivate his actions this

would be evident during the early days

of the 1957 new york crusade

in new york mr billy graham makes a

dramatic denunciation

there’s something wrong with human


what is it in the nature of men that

causes men to lie

and hate and cheat steal

lust and have pride and bigotry and


and racial intolerance what is it that

causes men

to have these terrible things down

inside of them

the problem of the world tonight is sin

billy had said i’m reaching 28 000

people every night at madison square


the place is packed and jam but he said

i’m frustrated

i’m concerned i’m not reaching people of


and he said i don’t want this to be a

white man’s crusade

he said howard what must i do i said

there’s one thing you could do he said

what i said go where they are

he said i’ll go so one sunday afternoon

we went up there i made all the

arrangements we’re going to have at

sailor methodist church a large church

in harlem

and we ended up with 8 000 people there

that afternoon

then the next sunday we went to brooklyn

10 000 people turned up

billy preached they responded he said

will you come

they said billy since you came to

brooklyn we’re going to come to madison

square garden

and that was the beginning of the change

of the racial climate at madison square


there was a browning a coloring of that

tremendous crowd

during the new york crusade another very

interesting thing happened

one night he invited uh martin luther

king to come

and pray and again he got some nasty

letters he said why do you want to have

that end preacher here

again billy said i don’t care i’m going

to do what’s right

so that night mark came he sat on the

platform right next to billy

so martin got up and prayed i have never

heard that man pray

a prayer like he prayed and he really

touched heaven so to speak tonight we’re

delighted to have from montgomery


dr martin luther king the minister of

the dexter avenue baptist church


heavenly father out of whose mind

this great cosmic universe has been


we come recognizing our dependence on


we stand amid the forces of truth and

yet we deliberately lie

we stand amid the compelling urgency of

the lord of love as exemplified in the

life of jesus christ

and yet we live our lives so often in

the dungeons of hatred

for all of these sins oh god forgive


we thank thee this evening for the

marvelous things that have been done

in this city through the dynamic


of this great evangelist we ask

thee o god to continue blessing him

give him continued power and authority

and as we listen to him tonight granted

our hearts and spirit will be opened

to the divine inflow all of these things

we ask

in the name of him who taught us to pray

our father with unto heaven

i would be thy name

well i think with dr graham and dr king

on the same platform more than likely

send a very powerful

message especially to those in the south


that took courage a lot of courage on

their part as a matter of fact because

it could put their lives in danger as



a lot of things that the black pastors

didn’t know was that

mr graham had helped martin luther king


many many areas with regard to his

imprisonment and paying of fines and

and uh that kind of thing and

encouragement along the way

it wasn’t something mr graham did for

his own prominence and to get

press interviews out of it but it was

something he did because

of his concern for justice and his

desire to help people

but he did it in his way from eisenhower

to kennedy

to johnson and then nixon billy worked

closely with all these presidents

encouraging them to take steps to end

racial segregation

when they tried to integrate central

high school in little rock arkansas that

was 1957

and president eisenhower called me on

the phone and he said billy did you see

the picture in the paper this morning of

the black man being kicked down on the

street in little rock and i said yes sir

i did

he said i’m thinking we’re going to have

to send some troops in there to hold

that down

and to stop that he said what do you

think about it i said

i don’t think you have any alternative i

said it can’t go on like it’s going now

and something dramatic has to take place

billy also offered to hold a crusade in

the troubled city but the local

committee thought it would be impossible

at that time

when the meetings did take place two

years later their impact would prove to

be far-reaching

almost 50 years ago my sunday school

teacher took me to little rock

to hear billy graham’s crusade

the schools were closed because of

little rock central high school

integration crisis

the white citizens council in little

rock tried to convince even to pressure

billy graham and all of his people

to preach to a segregated audience and

he told them that they insisted on that

he would cancel

the crusade and tell the whole world why

so here we were with neighborhood after

neighborhood after neighborhood in my

state on the verge of violence

and yet tens of thousands of black and

white christians there

together in a football stadium and when

he issued the call at the end of this


thousands came down holding hands arm

and arm

crying it was the beginning of the end

of the old south in my home state i will

never forget it

i had the privilege of being at the

white house

at a party the night the civil rights

bill was passed when hubert humphrey

came in about

or ten o’clock he was very tired

and he came straight over to me and he

said dylan

he said this bill will

never really be implemented

unless it comes from here

and he said this is the job of you and

the children

to help bring about love in the hearts

of people

i believe that the answer to our great


problems our social problems lies

in the gospel of christ in the

transformation that he can bring

we need legislation yes but legislation

cannot improve the morals of america


or our social problems alone must come


something deeper because our problem is

basically spiritual

we’ve passed all the civil rights laws

that you can fight you can’t think of

anything hardly they haven’t passed

but that hasn’t made everybody love each

other automatically

but the fruit of the spirit is love

by this shall all men know that you are

my disciples in that you have loved one

to another

that is a supernatural love given to you

by god

when you receive christ jesus said

follow me

come and change the world with me

billy’s concern for racial equality

extended to south africa during


he repeatedly refused to visit unless

the government would allow a

non-segregated meeting

in 1973 billy graham prevailed

and held the first ever integrated

public meetings

20 years before apartheid ended

and he said to the thousands there


is sin and the papers carried it

christianity is not a white man’s

religion and don’t let anybody ever tell

you that it’s quite a black

christ belongs to all people he belongs

to the whole world

his gospel is for everyone

i think i remember him as someone who

opened my eyes

to the simplicity of the gospel of jesus


he’ll bring a peace and a joy to your


that you’ve never known open your heart

and say

lord jesus come into my heart and he


i respected him for being genuine

and authentic and not pretentious i’ve

listened to a lot of preachers in my


sometimes i’m like i hear your words but

your spirit doesn’t seem to connect dr

graham’s spirit

uh connected with the word that he


therefore being justified by faith we

have peace with god

you want him in your heart and life

tonight i’m going to ask if you come

right now