If it's been a while since you sat in a school gymnasium and listened to speakers extoll the historical impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
, you're not alone. After 22 years of celebrating this day, we forget its meaning. Meanwhile, millions of Americans enjoy the holiday by taking advantage of the time off to watch sports, put away those final holiday decorations, or race to the mall for yet another day of store sales. Many, however, join the President and First Lady in performing service instead, a fitting tribute to the man and his work. The legacy of this amazing minister turned civil-rights leader is a call to action for Americans of every color and creed, as evidenced by many timeless Martin Luther King, Jr., quotes
. Will we hear that call?
From the start, Dr. King was no ordinary person. Graduating from Morehouse College at just 19, King showed wisdom at an early age, as evidenced by his declaration, "Intelligence plus character is the true meaning of education."
Receiving his doctorate of philosophy in his mid 20s, King was a voracious learner, greatly influenced by the teachings of both Mahatma Gandhi and fellow theologian and activist Howard Thurman. Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes
speak not just of the injustices endured by people of color, but reflect on our place in society and how we treat others. In his challenging quote, "One who condones evil is just as guilty as the one who perpetrates it,"
King set the bar high for our behavior and moral conscience. A multi-dimensional man who was no stranger to sin, King admits, "There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies."
Inspiring millions with his riveting speeches, Martin Luther King quotes
were marked by intensely hued images of hope and reconciliation, such as "Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away, and that in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty."
A powerful orator, Dr. King advocated nonviolent protests to effect change and raise awareness within Black Americans of their rights as a free people. Dr. King's quote
, "No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream,"
underscored his commitment to bring basic human rights to all Americans. His call to action was not only for people of color, but for all Americans who witnessed the disparaging treatment of protestors during nonviolent rallies. His vow, "We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends"
reflects a belief that to stand by and watch silently was a sin against God. "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy" is a MLK quote
that harkens back to the Revolutionary War and our fight for freedom from oppression.
Martin Luther King, Jr., quotes
relate to our basic needs as human beings, such as "Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others."
His education as a philosopher and his belief in a higher power forged a love for his fellow man that he willingly shared in many eloquent speeches.
History has proven that the power of one man can change the world. In American history, this is certainly true of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This year, make a commitment to serve your country in his honor. See http://www.serve.gov/
for more information.