As we look back into the past, there are only a few names that stand out as much as the name of Martin Luther King Jr – the man, whose voice built a foundation to end the racial segregation and opened a discussion of equality among races and genders. Today we look at the truly extraordinary life journey that gave us a man, the words of wisdom of whom we all should live by.
Early years of life and first segregation encounter
Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15th, 1929 to the family of reverend Martin Luther King Sr. and his wife Alberta Williams King. Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia young Martin witnessed the consequences of racial inequality very early in life. At the age of six the boy was forcefully separated with his best friend, who happens to be a caucasian boy. Before all the hard work put into the matter by King later in life, African American people were compulsory separated from the white population in all areas of life – education, recreation and eve public transport. In fact, there was an incident that took place on a bus, which is believed to have pushed Martin Luther to all of his future endeavors. The boy and his tutor were returning from a contest by bus, when the driver asked them to free their seats for standing white passengers. Although Martin firmly refused at first, he was talked into following the request by his teacher.
King was an exceptional student with a gift for verbal eloquence that was rightfully noticed and supported by his educators. Graduating from high school at just 15 years of age due to his exceptional achievements, Martin passed an admission exam to Morehouse College and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in sociology. In 1947 King made a life shifting decision to follow in his father’s footsteps and devote his life to God by becoming a minister. This decision led him to earning Baccalaureate In Divinity Degree and then the Ph.D. from Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania.
Rosa Parks and I have a dream speech
Martin Luther’s first significant victory is considered the cancellation of segregation in public transit after young Rosa Parks, now known as the first lady of civil rights, was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man. The incident motivated King to lead a transit boycott that lasted 381 days and resulted in the first big change towards racial equality.
In 1963 King delivered his globally famous seventeen minute speech at the Jobs and Freedom March in Washington. The speech quickly spread across the globe through various informational channels and became known as one of the most powerful and inspirational addresses in both American history and Black History. And the year after the speech, Martin Luther was awarded with a Nobel Peace Prize for his never-ending battle with racial inequality, becoming a third black laureate in history and the youngest winner of the high distinction.
“I’ve been to the mountain top”
A day before his tragic assasination King delivered a speech that was later named “I’ve been to the mountain top” and is considered Martin’s swan song as it briefly mentioned the death threats addressed to King over the course of the last few years. King stated that he was not afraid of death as he was very proud of his achievements. The next day the great equal rights advocate fallen victim to assasination in his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee. While conspiracy theorists are trying to figure out the mysterious reason behind the Great Man’s death, we focus on the legacy that he left to us in a form of wise and inspiring words. Here are 20 of the most powerful, in our opinion, quotes by Martin Luther King Jr.:
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. ”
“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.”
“We may all have come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”
“There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life’s July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November.”
“A lie cannot live.”
“He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”
“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.”
“It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.”
“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.”
“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
“Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”
“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude.”
“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”
“We cannot walk alone.”
“We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.