Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 19, 2015, is a U.S. holiday honoring the birthday of a great American, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was born on January 15, 1929, in the city of Atlanta, in the state of Georgia, USA.

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Dr. King was a Baptist minister and an advocate of human rights and civil rights—one’s ability to participate in the civil and political life of the society and state without discrimination or repression. He made the world aware of the injustices of legal segregation of African-American citizens in areas of the USA. Dr. King also fought for laws to end legal segregation and assure African-American citizens could exercise their right to vote.

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A proponent of the nonviolent practices of Mahatma Gandhi of India, Dr. King helped lead a movement of nonviolent protests and civil disobedience, such as boycotts and sit-ins that helped guarantee African-American citizens could exercise their right to vote and to equal education, employment, and housing opportunities. The importance of his work was recognized in 1964 when he received the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. King was brutally assassinated in April 1968, when he was just 39 years old.

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In addition to his achievements in civil rights and human rights, Dr. King was a brilliant orator and writer.  His most famous speech, titled “I Have a Dream” was spoken from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. to more than 250,000 civil rights supporters on August 28 1963.

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The following quotations from his speeches are engraved on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.:

«Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.»

From the «I Have a Dream» speech in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963.

«We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.»

Washington National Cathedral, March 31, 1968.

«Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.»

Strength to Love, 1963.

«I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.»
Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Oslo, Norway, 1964.

«Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.»

March for Integrated Schools, April 18, 1959.

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«I oppose the war in Vietnam because I love America. I speak out against it not in anger but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and above all with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as a moral example of the world.»

Anti-War Conference, Los Angeles, California, February 26, 1967.

«If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.»

Christmas sermon, Atlanta, Georgia, 1967.

«Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.»

Letter from Birmingham, Alabama jail, April 16, 1963.

«I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.»

Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Oslo, Norway, 1964

«It is not enough to say ‘We must not wage war.’ It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but the positive affirmation of peace.»

Anti-War Conference, Los Angeles, California, February 25, 1967.

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«Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.»

New York City, April 4, 1967.

«We are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs ‘down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.'»

Montgomery, Alabama, December 5, 1955.

«We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.»

Montgomery, Alabama, March 25, 1965.

«True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.»

Stride Toward Freedom, 1958

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