Monday, the country celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King was an activist during the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s until his assassination in 1968. He was a southern minister and his Christian beliefs drove his activism. He is known for his non-violent tactics. King was even awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal after his death.
In his infamous “I have a Dream” speech in 1963, King called for an end to racism in the United States and civil and economic rights.
The most well-known portion of his speech is probably this: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of the character. I have a dream. . .”
Part of his speech is probably not so widely known or recognized. It reads: “We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off, or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. . . We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”
It seems that even now, King’s speech rings clear. In light of protests and arguing over political differences, King calls for men to be brothers, to lift the nation, to conduct ourselves with dignity and discipline, to flee violence and engage in soul force.
It was great to see people post on social media quotes from King’s speeches. It was inspiring to be reminded of the principles King stood on. Perhaps we can carry those things throughout the rest of the year and not just on a Monday in January.
By Denise DuBois, Executive Editor