Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) was an American Christian pastor and civil rights leader. He was a inspiring speaker.
Dr. King followed the path of Mahatma Gandhi. King consistently preached peace and non-violent civil disobedience.
The authorities responded to his peaceful protests with water cannons, tear gas, attack dogs, beatings, and arrests. Rev. King was arrested 29 times on trumped-up charges.
At one point, some of King’s followers responded to violence with violence. In his frustration, he paraphrased Gandhi, who said, “There go my people. I must catch up to them. For I am their leader.”
Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. The night before, he preached his prophetic, and final, sermon.
“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now … I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
Rev. King received the Nobel Peace Prize. The stone Martin Luther King Monument was placed between the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, and a national holiday was dedicated in his honor.
Martin Luther King proved, once again, that one person can change history. He demonstrated, once again, the power of the word. Like Jesus and Gandhi, he sought to bring about change by preaching love and peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers.” He proclaimed:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”