The late U.S. civil rights leader and Nobel peace prize winner Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." On January 15th, the U.S. observes a national holiday in Dr. King's honor.
“Americans honor the memory of a man who stirred the conscience of a nation,” said President George W. Bush. “We also recommit ourselves to the dream to which Dr. King devoted his life, an America where the dignity of every person is respected; where people are judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character, and where the hope of a better tomorrow is in every neighborhood.”
Dr. King, a Baptist minister, was one of the world's best-known advocates of non-violent social change. Applying the principle of nonviolence to the civil rights movement in the U.S., Martin Luther King, Jr., preached racial equality at a time when black Americans were still victims of segregation and discrimination.
This message of tolerance helped to bring about enormous change in the U.S. He delivered one of his most memorable speeches in the summer of 1963, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom:
"We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."
Martin Luther King, Jr. appealed not to resentment but to reason, not to anger but to conscience. In 1968, he was slain by an assassin, at the age of thirty-nine.
“When Martin Luther King, Jr., came to our nation’s capital in the summer of 1963, he came to inspire America and to call on our citizens to live up to the principles of our founding,” said President Bush. “His dream spread a message of hope, justice, and brotherhood,” said Mr. Bush, “that took hold of the hearts of men and women across our great land, and it continues to speak to millions here at home and around the world.”
The preceding was an editorial reflecting American ideals and institutions.