Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and today I've been reading his words. They're always moving and inspiring. King advocated nonviolence in the civil rights movement, so it seems to follow that he would speak out against war in general. But speaking out against war was something new for him in 1967, and this speech he gave shows his need to explain his position to his fellow civil rights workers: Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence. (This site also has an MP3 of the audio of the speech—you can hear the weight of the subject in his voice.) He gave this speech exactly one year to the day before he was assassinated. And some other quotes that stood out to me today:
"Hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear; only love can do that. Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it."

"When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life."

"It is not enough to say, 'We must not wage war.' It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the eradication of war but on the affirmation of peace. So we must see that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody that is far superior to the discords of war."

"We must rapidly begin the shift from a 'thing-oriented' society to a 'person-oriented' society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.
More quotes about peace. Many television summaries of King's life focus on the "I have a dream" speech. It's worth reading his other inspiring speeches as well.
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