The hymn tune "Precious Lord, Take My Hand," always runs through my mind on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It was among King's favorites, and it's reported that the civil rights leader had just requested it be played at a rally when he was assassinated.

The tune was written by Thomas Dorsey (not the big band trombonist/bandleader Tommy Dorsey) and sung by Mahalia Jackson at King's funeral. Additionally, in the aftermath of Dr. King’s assassination, lyricist Joyce Merman rewrote Dorsey’s hymn, incorporating quotations from Dr. King’s final speech. Choral composer/arranger Roy Ringwald arranged this adapted text in King’s memory.

Here is a video clip of Jackson performing the song. Couldn't find a full audio clip of the Ringwald/Merman arrangement. If anyone finds it, please post a comment or send me an email at