Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated APRIL 4, 1968.
Pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, he rose to national prominence through the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Awarded the Nobel Prize in 1964, Congress set aside his birthday as a National Holiday.
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, were influenced by the German Lutheran pastor Deitrich Bonhoeffer, who resisted Hitler’s Nazism.
Rev. King was also influenced by the non-violent methods of India’s Mahatma Gandhi.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said August 28, 1963:
“Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children…
In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds.
Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence….
New militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
We cannot walk alone.”
On April 16, 1963, Rev. King wrote:
“I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community.
One is a force of complacency…
The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence.
It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best-known being Elijah Muhammad’s Muslim movement…
I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the ‘do-nothingism’ of the complacent nor the hatred of the black nationalist.
For there is the more excellent way of love and non-violent protest.
I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of non-violence became an integral part of our struggle.”
Rev. King proclaimed August 28, 1963:
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:
‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.’
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood…
“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.”
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.