Home Politics Activism Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: The Legacy of a Civil Rights Activist

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: The Legacy of a Civil Rights Activist

forgiveness BELatina MLK Jr

Every year on the third Monday of January we remember and celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. Observed for the first time on January 20, 1986, and falling this year on January 20th again, Americans might not see this holiday as a day off, but as an opportunity to reflect, take action and demand equal opportunities to people of all races.

Born on January 15, Martin Luther King Jr. grew up to become the most visible spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and his Christian beliefs, King peacefully fought against segregation and organized marches and protests to secure progress on civil rights in the U.S. His activism made him the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize for successfully combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance and was awarded for his “exceptional advancement of the principles of human liberty” by the American Jewish Committee. Bestowed with 50 honorary degrees from colleges and universities and a Margaret Sanger Award for “his courageous resistance to bigotry and his lifelong dedication to the advancement of social justice and human dignity,” by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, plus other multiple posthumous awards, King became the voice of the voiceless, and like former President Jimmy Carter once said, “Martin Luther King Jr. was the conscience of his generation.”

Known as the leader of all people, Martin Luther King Jr.’s influential decisions and actions benefited the African American community and in his long list of accomplishments, we can mention the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the unforgettable March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in which over 250,000 people rallied for human rights. The gathering, which took place in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963, opened the door to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  

During the rally, Dr. King delivered one of the most powerful, memorable and revered speeches in the English language in a stage called by himself as “the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.” In the “I Have a Dream” public speech, Martin Luther King Jr. refers to the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and talks about the Emancipation Proclamation and how all three outlined the rights of black men and women as well as white. 

In his cry, the Atlanta native raised awareness about segregation and racial injustice and demanded the government to make real the promises. “This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children,” he said.

This fearless man with wonderful leadership skills also used his influence to travel any place where injustice against African Americans was occurring. His dream of unifying the masses is a constant battle today; therefore, we must immerse ourselves with courage and determination and continue his fight. Find below 20 of the most inspiring quotes by Dr. King.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

20 “Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.”

19 “Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one’s whole being into the being of another.”

18 “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

17 “A lie cannot live.”

16 “You will change your mind; you will change your looks; you will change your smile, laugh, and ways but no matter what you change, you will always be you.”

15 “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.”

14 “Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.”

13 “Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service… You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.”

12 “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.”

11 “Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

10 “Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”

9 “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.”

8 “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude.”

7 “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

6 “The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility.”

5 “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.”

4 “We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

3 “I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.”

2 “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

1 “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.”

Exit mobile version