Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Nobel Peace Prize winner and Baptist minister who inspired the nation through his leadership of a nonviolent movement for civil rights before he was slain by an assassin at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

“This is an opportunity to remember Martin Luther King, but we should honor his memory not through words, but in our actions to advance the causes of peace, jobs and justice for which he fought so valiantly,” said Lisa McCormick, who shared these of his most famous quotes:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“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.”

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

“If a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”

“Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force…”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, serving as its first president.

With the SCLC, King led an unsuccessful 1962 struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia, and helped organize the 1963 nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Alabama. King also helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

On October 14, 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance.

In 1965, he helped to organize the Selma to Montgomery marches, and the following year he and SCLC took the movement north to Chicago to work on segregated housing.

In the final years of his life, King expanded his focus to include opposition towards poverty and the Vietnam War, alienating many of his liberal allies with a 1967 speech titled “Beyond Vietnam”.

In 1968, King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., to be called the Poor People’s Campaign, when he was assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee.

On April 3, 1968, at Mason Temple, the Headquarters of Church of God in Christ, in Memphis, Tennessee, King delivered his famous Mountaintop speech.


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