Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy 80th Birthday Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today would have been the 80th birthday of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. I posted these quotes last year, but they remain applicable. Although the national celebration is next Monday his actual date of birth is January 15, 1929. Born Michael Luther King, Jr., he later had his name changed to Martin. His grandfather began the family's long tenure as pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. He would have been 79 years old today. This year is also significant because April 4th will be the fortieth anniversary of his assassination. Although he only graced us with his presence for 39 short years, he left a legacy that is shared throughout the world by millions of people. Rather than dwell on the negative aspects of his death, I will celebrate his life by sharing some quotes from the man himself.

A lie cannot live.

A man who won't die for something is not fit to live.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

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 refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

Means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.

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

The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.

The quality, not the longevity, of one's life is what is important.

There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breadth.

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. 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.

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.

When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.

Martin Luther King, Jr.


X. Dell said...

In a sense, it's a shame to think of what he missed. Yet, it's a bigger shame to think about what we've missed in his absence.

AngieatWhatNewsShouldBe said...

Thanks for those quotes. I'm going to give you a few more. They concern one of King's most central legacies often lost in holiday remembrances - his stance against global poverty and his encouragement for all Americans to learn about and combat it.

You can download a free 2-page inspirational flyer I prepared about this which indicates what King fought for in this exact regard here:

Everyone should think about the global poverty statistics mentioned therein - comparing those in King's time - to those in the present and then pass it on! (literally by handing this flyer out to strangers or sending on the link). This would certainly be an excellent way at both honoring King's vision, and opening people's eyes to the currently still dreadful state of humanity.

Can you take to heart the words King spoke just 4 days before he was gunned down? That's what this flyer asks everyone. Take the King Challenge - in his own words - and see.

You can also get the flyer by emailing the author at

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