Today, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by striving to remember the man, as well as the cause to which he dedicated his life. As tribute to the Reverend King, we wanted to share just a few of the powerful messages from his book, “Strength to Love,” his Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, and his Christmas Sermon on Peace. One thing becomes clear while reading or listening to Dr. King’s words — his message of equality, love, and peace, resonates as strongly today as it did a half century ago.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Strength to Love, 1963
“Jesus is eternally right. History is replete with the bleached bones of nations that refused to listen to him. May we in this century hear and follow his words. May we realize that we shall never be true sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father until we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.” – Strength to Love, 1963
“…nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time — the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts.” – Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, 1964
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.” – Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, 1964
“I believe that what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land. ‘And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together … none shall be afraid.’ I still believe that We Shall overcome!” – Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, 1964
“We have experimented with the meaning of nonviolence in our struggle for racial justice in the United States. But now, the time has come for man to experiment with nonviolence in all areas in human conflict.” – Christmas Sermon on Peace, 1967
(Post by Chris Pendleton ’08.)