The man with a dream: 5 quotes to honour Martin Luther King Jr. on his 91st birth anniversary
On the commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on January 15th, here is a compilation of the most powerful quotes said by King to honour him and his legacy.Updated: Jan 16, 2020 12:30 IST
Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was the twentieth century’s most notable spokesperson and advocate for non-violent social change and the leader of the Civil Rights Movement from 1995 until his assassination in 1968.
Martin Luther King Jr,. was the son of Reverend Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King and was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Born of the name of Michael Luther King, Jr.,he later changed his name to Martin. His grandfather began the family’s long tenure as pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Martin Luther acted as co-pastor to his father from 1960 till his death. King studied in segregated schools throughout his life, and Morehouse College for his B.A., Crozer Theological Seminary for his B.D. and Boston University for his doctorate in Theology.
By 1955, King had earned national recognition for his oratorical skills and courage after leading the first great African-American non-violent demonstration of contemporary times in the United States. The boycott was of the transportation company of Montgomery, Alabama which required non-whites to surrender their seats to whites, and stand or sit at the back of the bus. King and other civil rights activists were arrested and the boycott lasted 382 days. This boycott lead to the Supreme Court of the United States declaring unconstitutional the laws requiring segregation on buses, non-whites and whites rode the bus rode as equals for the first time in history.
Over the next decade, King became the face of the Civil Rights Movement in America; by 1957, he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organisation formed to provide new leadership for the civil rights movement. King lead non-violent protests and mass-demonstrations throughout the decade. In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King travelled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, and wrote five books as well as numerous articles which included the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, a manifesto of the African-American revolution.
Perhaps King’s most famous and impactful speech was in Washington, D.C., where he lead over 250,000 people in a non-violent mass-demonstration to draw attention to racial discrimination and to demand civil rights legislation to protect the rights of African-Americans in 1963. King described the demonstration as,“the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.” His address, “I Have a Dream” went down in history as one of the most inspirational and moving speeches in history, he spoke of his dream of a United States devoid of racism and inequality and the dream of equality and unity.
King became the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize; he was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became not only the symbolic leader of African-Americans in the United States but also a world figure.
On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, he was assassinated.
On the commemoration of King’s birthday on January 15th, here is a compilation of the most powerful quotes by King to honour him and his legacy.
1. “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.”
2. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
3. “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
4. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
5. “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.”
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