Largely through his eloquent speeches, writings and actions during the 1950s and 1960s, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held a mirror on society that forced much of white America to reassess race relations in this country.
The image seen in that mirror made many people realize the inequity and unfairness that then existed in America and helped to bring about civil rights gains so needed and so long in coming.
An assassin’s bullet silenced his voice in April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn., but Dr. King’s words still stand tall, and speak to us today, reminding us of where we came from and where we still have to go to climb that mountain and achieve that dream.
Even though his birthday was last week, on this occasion of Martin Luther King Jr. Day – the official holdiay – we all can benefit by reflecting on his words and what they still mean today and everyday.
* Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.
* Segregation is the adultery of an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality.
* All progress is precarious and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.
* I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
* Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
* The church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion, it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.
* Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”