Observances of the holiday commemorating the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday January 15 take on a sepcial significance in 2018, which will be 50th anniversary of his assassination in April, 1968. This important day of service across the United States to celebrate nonviolent activism in support of civil rights and the Civil Rights Movement is one of reflection, engagement, assessment and action in the name of a great American hero. As Dr. King noted in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance address in 1964:
Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later, all the peoples of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
The torturous road which has led from Montgomery, Alabama, to Oslo bears witness to this truth, and this is a road over which millions of Negroes are traveling to find a new sense of dignity. This same road has opened for all Americans a new era of progress and hope. It has led to a new civil rights bill, and it will, I am convinced, be widened and lengthened into a superhighway of justice as Negro and white men in increasing numbers create alliances to overcome their common problems.
The need for action remains strong and ongoing, with a great amount of work yet required to expand the superhighway of justice, alliances and solutions. Contemplate the holiday in the shadow of this great American and the expectations he has helped us create in the direction of a more perfect union.
Image: Martin Luther King Jr. addresses a crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where he delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream,” speech during the Aug. 28, 1963, march on Washington, D.C., via wikimedia commons.