I wanted to do a little something different to celebrate my Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so I decided to do some reading on MLK. I hear the “I have a dream…” line all the time, but I figured surely this man had more to talk about than one of his dreams.
I started googling old transcripts of his speeches to see what else the man had to say. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was so much more than just a civil rights activist. Our society remembers his fight for racial equality, but unfortunately we forget the framework of his argument. Civil rights were merely a starting point. MLK was a rebel. He was a free thinker with a unique ability to relate to his audience. He wasn’t arguing to have the same society, but with blacks and whites being equal. He wanted something more–a higher level of society–where equality would be a foregone conclusion. This is a critical difference. Dr. King urged people of all colors to be better, more educated citizens. I challenge you to do your part.
A few of my favorite quotes from today’s reading:
“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent. “
“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.”
“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”
“An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.”
“If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.”
“When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.”
“The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be… The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”
“We must use time creatively.”
“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.”