Today We Honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Where do we go from here: chaos or community?

For twelve years I, and others like me, held out radiant promises of progress. I had preached to them about my dream. I had lectured to them about the not too distant ay when they would have freedom, "all here and now," I had urged the to have faith in America and in white society. Their hopes had soared. They were now booing because they felt we were unable to deliver on our promises. They were booing because we had urged them to have faith in people who hd too often proved to be unfaithful. They were now hostile because they were watching the dream that they had so readily accepted turn into a frustrating nightmare.

Martin Luther King Quotations on the King Memorial

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."

"Unarmed truth and unconditional love," King believed would have the last word.

"Right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

"If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional."

"We must develop a world perspective."

"Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole."

"Let justice run down like waters..."

"With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. with this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."

MLK Memorial
MLK Memorial | Source

March on Washington

IN KING'S WORDS

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose contribution is recognized by today's holiday, is best known as an icon of the civil rights movement. But King spoke out on many other issues. Here's a sample:

Military Spending

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." (1967)

Values

"I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered. (1964)

War

"I see this war (Vietnam) as an unjust, evil and futile war. But if I had confronted the call to military service in a war against Hi8tler, I believe that I would have temporarily sacrificed my pacifism because Hitler was such an evil force in history." (1967)

Poverty

"The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each othere because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to comsume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty." (1967)

Racial Equality

"A good many observers have remarked that if equality could come at once, the Negro would not be ready for it. I submit that the white American is even more unprepared. (1967)

Hate Crime Legislation

"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." 1962

Peace

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men." 1963

Commitment to Cause

"I submit to you that, if a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live." 1963

"We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest." (1964)

The riots of the 1960s

"A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard." (1967)

Detroit Free Press, January 21, 2008.

Martin Luther King

Barack Obama Honors Martin Luther King

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Comments 26 comments

Iðunn 8 years ago

I saw a neat article today that talked about the overlooked parts of Dr. King's legacy and how people forget how despised he was at that time for saying what is today admired.

Good hub.


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey

Amen--great hub and fitting tribute


Steviebeth1227 profile image

Steviebeth1227 7 years ago from Nashville

I have read a lot of mean spirited and bigoted garbage today. It makes my heart so full to read such a fitting tribute. I believe in people's right to express how they feel but with respect and with the mindset to learn and make things better. This was a great read. I am joining your fan club.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago Author

Thanks for your kind comment.

Here's a timely video of a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrpqnZYAB6w


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

Next Monday we'll remember Martin Luther King, Jr., on his birthday.


Leretseh profile image

Leretseh 6 years ago

Why would a people want to be integrated into the society of another people … who they claim are brutalizing and oppressing them? This really makes no sense, does it?

I guess I’ll never understand the celebrating of M.L. King. He seems to have inspired far more misery because of the things he stood for ... than for bringing prosperity and happiness for his people.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

Your're entitled to your opinion. But I couldn't disagree more with your comment.


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 6 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

Yes, I guess MLK should have just sat back and done nothing...

Those people were American citizens who deserved the same rights as all other American citizens. Definitely worth fighting for.

Great hub on a great man Ralph.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

Thanks, Uninvited Writer.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

"Why would a people want to be integrated into the society of another people … who they claim are brutalizing and oppressing them? This really makes no sense, does it?"

Not all blacks were supporters of MLK--the Black Panthers, the Black Muslims, and various black supremacist and black separatist groups took a very different path from Martin Luther King. Perhaps you prefer Huey Newton, Elijah Muhammad, Louis Farrakahn, et al, to MLK?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_supremacy


Leretseh profile image

Leretseh 6 years ago

"Those people were American citizens"

They "are" American citizens, yes. But they were NOT denied any rights that white people possessed prior to 1964.

Blacks were not protesting about the lack of a "right" to sit next to little white kids in all-white schools. Why would they? It would be the suggestion of racial superiority of the white people if they did that. However, that didn't stop King and the NAACP. Their arguments were simply flawed. What good did it do the black race today to force whites to integrate their schools? Black male drop out rates are excess 60% in urban America today. And this is with a drastically dumb-down education.

White business owners, and blacks business owners as well, prior to 1964, had a LEGAL right to deny service to anyone. I don't really agree with the logic of those southern white business owners who did deny service to blacks, but, nevertheless, it WAS their legal right (under the doctrine of State's Rights) to deny service to blacks.

As for blacks being made to sit in the back of the bus, well, stupidity. If the white people wanted separation (they had a legal right under Plessy to have this desire met) then blacks could have sat on the right and whites on the left. Blacks didn't have much love for whites in the South either.

Again, I don't know what integration has accomplished for the whole black race. If this is about individual blacks "gettin' their" then "gettin' out" well, let's admit to it. As for the whole black race, they are suffering horribly under forced integration. Then there are the victims in the white community from black racism...

Without America's "magic printing press" spewing out reams and reams of paper money, where would the black race be right now?


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

Before the changes brought about by the civil rights movement under the leadership of King and others, America had de jure segregation in the South and de facto segregation in the North. Blacks were denied the vote in the South and discriminated against in public education, employment and housing throughout the country. Massive peaceful marches and protests led by Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Walter Reuther and others and with the leadership of Lyndon Johnson, resulted in the passage of a number of landmark civil rights bills. This legislation brought significant change to America--in hiring, education, housing and in voter rights. The unanimous 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decsision in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education overturned the separate but "equal" doctrine that had prevailed for nearly 60 years since the Plessy v Ferguson decision in 1896. Our founder's pledge that "all men are created equal" finally was expanded to include people of all races and colors. The Brown v. Topeka Board of Education decision's implementation was resisted fiercely in the South and much of the North as well. And today, on Martin Luther King's birthday, the job is far from done.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author


Leretseh profile image

Leretseh 6 years ago

“Not all blacks were supporters of MLK--the Black Panthers, the Black Muslims, and various black supremacist and black separatist groups took a very different path from Martin Luther King.”

The Black Panthers, created in 1967, were really a reaction, indeed, a rejection, to King’s merging of the races as a solution to all those problems that afflicted the black race since 1865. Prior to 1964, there were NO organized protests from blacks anywhere in America challenging the across-the-board integration agenda King was proposing. He was proposing the LEGAL nullification of the black race’s existence in America. What people had done this in human history. It was, in a word, extraordinary.

“Perhaps you prefer Huey Newton, Elijah Muhammad, Louis Farrakahn, et al, to MLK?”

I prefer a successful, long term solution for the black race in America. They DESERVE to have land. They deserve to be allowed to be masters of their own destiny. White people have got to be taught to stop viewing them as “their” little pets; or nothing more than children that need their “superior” guidance. Either pets or children they are not. Blacks are a people that must have their own identity. Merging them with the white race will never succeed. Racism on the part of white people does not deny this merging. Human nature denies it. A written Constitution will not defeat or defy the human constitution. Legislative law has its limits. White people need to understand this simply fact.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

Well, yours is an extreme minority view among educated Americans, white and black.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

Leretseh, may I suggest that if you are white you would be well advised to leave the matter of what is best for black Americans up to them. And as you know, the overwhelming majority of African Americans support Martin Luther King's vision of a racially united America. And if you are black, which I doubt very much, you may be in a better position to speak about what is best for black Americans, but, again you must recognize that few of your fellow black Americans support your extreme views.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

And so it was in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968 when the world’s premier peace officer was gunned down. The day before his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had given his last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” in support of striking sanitation workers at the Mason Temple in Memphis. In the speech King spoke as if he knew he was meeting his fate the next day.

http://www.michronicleonline.com/index.php?option=...


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

More than 4,000 Americans have died in Iraq and more than 1,000 in Afghanistan, where the Obama administration has chosen to escalate rather than to begin a careful withdrawal. Those two wars, as the Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and his colleague Linda Bilmes have told us, will ultimately cost us more than $3 trillion.


2patricias profile image

2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

Just found this Hub - I think that many Americans have forgotten how many ideas came from Martin Luther King. You may be surprised to know that people in other parts of the world haven't heard of him. Last year I took photos of the display about MLK at Atlanta Airport. Back home in England I showed my Mother-in-Law, and she had never heard of him. Nor had she heard of the Civil Rights movement in America. It is true that she is not very well informed in general, but I found it very sad that anyone could not know about this amazing man.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

Thanks for your comment. Martin Luther King was a great American.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

The most enduring images and sounds of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life come from his "I Have A Dream" speech, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963.

Clarence Jones helped draft the speech that day, and he was standing a few feet away when King spoke.

He was a young attorney and part of King's inner circle when the March on Washington was planned. He tells his story in his new book Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech that Transformed a Nation.

But it almost wasn't to be.http://www.npr.org/2011/01/17/132905796/dream-spee...


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Opens

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/23/us/23mlk.html?sc...


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

Martin Luther King Quotations on the King Memorial

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."

"Unarmed truth and unconditional love," King believed would have the last word."

"Right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

"If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional."

"We must develop a world perspective."

"Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole."

"Let justice run down like waters..."

"With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. with this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 4 years ago Author

How Fares the Dream? - NYTimes.com

"Martin Luther King would see a nation that judges people by the size of their paychecks." Paul Krugman


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 3 years ago Author

1-21-13FreePress: "Morris Dees: On Martin Luther King"

Morris Dees: On Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, still a dream deferred

Serious but surmountable challenges threaten the well-being and future of children: persistent poverty, proliferation of gun violence and unnecessary arrests of children of color. Despite much progress, the issues are in too many ways unchanged. Despite much progress, the issues are in too many ways unchanged as structural inequality and racial discord continue to erode the foundation of liberty.

The number of people living in poverty today has doubled to almost 50 million. Disappointingly, Michigan's poverty rate of 17% stands higher than the national rate of 15%, according to 2011 figures released last year.

Across the country, more than one in five children live in poverty. For children of color, it is even worse: One in four African-American children and almost one in three Hispanic children will grow up in deprivation.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 3 years ago Author

4-15-13NYTimesOPINION--"Dr. King's Righteous Fury" by Jonathan Rieder

Dr. King’s Righteous Fury - NYTimes.com

It is a mistake to view King as merely an ardent proponent of the American dream.

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