“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Those are the words of Martin Luther King, Junior, the late American civil rights leader. Today [January 20th], Americans observe a national holiday in his honor.
Martin Luther King, a Baptist minister, was one of the world’s best known advocates of non-violent social change. As a theology student at Boston University, he became acquainted with the teachings of Mohandas Gandhi, the pacifist who united the people of India against British colonial rule.
Applying the principle of nonviolence to the civil rights movement in the United States, Martin Luther King preached racial equality at a time when black Americans were still victims of segregation and discrimination. In 1957, he traveled more than one-million kilometers around the U-S and delivered over two-hundred speeches.
Martin Luther King’s message of meeting hate with love eventually helped bring about enormous change in the United States. And his words were heard by millions of people around the world.
One of his most memorable speeches was delivered in the summer of 1963 during the famous March on Washington. The event attracted more than two-hundred-fifty thousand participants.
Dr. King set the tone when he said:
KING ACTUALITY 0:52 “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. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence...have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”
Voice: It took great courage for Martin Luther King to pursue the cause of civil rights for all Americans. On many occasions he was jailed. In 1968, he was slain by an assassin.
“For too brief a time,” said President George W. Bush, “our nation benefited from his work, yet his dream lives on in the hearts of a new generation.”