Today is Martin Luther King Day in the United States. It is an official holiday to celebrate and honour the life and work of one of the leading figures in the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the US.
On 28 August 1963, Martin Luther King delivered the outstanding “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of Lincoln Memorial in Washington. It would be a defining moment in civil rights history in America and the world. You can read a transcript of the speech here. For a more comprehensive and interactive experience, you can explore The Guardian’s excellent piece here.
To celebrate this day, I would like to share 12 of Dr King’s quotes that have made a real impact on me. His stirring words and writings remain as relevant and inspiring today as they were when he lived.
1. “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
2. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
3. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”
4. “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.”
5. “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
6. “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.”
7. “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
8. “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood”
9. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”
10. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
11. “Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”
12. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
A few years ago I went to the see a play entitled “The Mountaintop”. It was based on Martin Luther King’s final night before his assassination in 1968. It was a wonderful play because it depicted King not as a saint but a good man, passionate about a cause but still very human with the same flaws as all of us. The play was extremely successful and had excellent reviews (read one here).
And that’s what fascinates me about people like Dr King – beyond their inspirational work, they are people like you and me. The only difference is that they are not willing to stand in silence whist injustices happen around them.
The world has still much to do to realise Dr King’s vision. The important thing is that we continue his legacy around the globe.
I wish all my American family and readers a Happy Martin Luther King Day.
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Ciao for now