Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Coretta Scott King

Equality, Dignity, Fairness and Justice

 

 

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Coretta Scott King -- photo by John Mathew Smith
Coretta Scott King
Photograph by
 John Mathew Smith
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Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929 and he was assassinated on April 4, 1968. He was a Christian minister, husband and father, a civil-rights leader, advocate of non-violence resistance to achieve desegregation in the US, and an internationally recognized Nobel Peace Prize recipient. 

The words of Rev. King continue to inspire many people today to find the courage and energy to work for social changes that serve equality, extend freedoms, secure justice, raise human dignity and let freedom ring. May we all honor his memory with an active and doubled effort to make the world a better place in every way we can, in our homes, neighborhoods, cities, countries, nations --- to live in equality where everyone "will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

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excerpt from Rev. King's famous I Have A Dream speech:
"... 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 slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four 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. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. 

I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. 

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true..."

Full text of the I have a dream speech delivered by Rev. King on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963.


Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change

An excerpt from his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech "The Quest for Peace and Justice," Rev. King Dec. 11, 1954.  "Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meaning can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart. Such is the moment I am presently experiencing. I experience this high and joyous moment not for myself alone but for those devotees of nonviolence who have moved so courageously against the ramparts of racial injustice and who in the process have acquired a new estimate of their own human worth. Many of them are young and cultured. Others are middle aged and middle class. The majority are poor and untutored. But they are all united in the quiet conviction that it is better to suffer in dignity than to accept segregation in humiliation..."

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A sound recording of Rev. King for you to listen to this charismatic and inspirational leader.

 More audio of Rev. King, speeches, sermons, quotes

Movies about Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Available through Netflix and your library, on DVD and video tape:

  • Citizen King: American Experience (2004) - mostly about Viet Nam War protests and America's poor

  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., A Perspective (1994) - documentary

  • The Greatest Speeches of All Time Volume 1 (2004) - last public address

  • The Greatest Speeches of All Time Volume 2 (2004) 

  • In Remembrance of Martin (1998) - historic footage & many speeches

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. I Have a Dream (1986) - includes Robert Kennedy's eulogy

  • Merv Griffin: 40 Interesting People (3 disk series) (1962) - Dr. King interviewed by Harry Belafonte

  • Arthur Ashe: Citizen of the World (1994) - tennis player and sports legend who died from AIDS, remembered with honor by Rev. King


Coretta Scott King

Born and raised in Alabama, Coretta Scott King received her bachelor's degree in music and education from Antioch College and another degree in voice (she loved singing opera) and violin from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. As a minister's wife, Mrs. King dedicated herself to raising their four children in a loving family and helping with her husband's ministry in Montgomery, Alabama. She also joined her husband Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on civil rights demonstrations throughout the South, sharing his dream of equality, dignity, fairness and justice for all.

Rev. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965. Three years later, he was assassinated. After the death of her husband in 1968, Mrs. King founded the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change as a living memorial to his life and dream.  Until her death she traveled throughout the world speaking on racial and economic justice, women's and children's rights, gay and lesbian dignity, religious freedom and nuclear disarmament. Her words were an inspiration to all. She was a loving, compassionate and courageous woman and a blessing to all who knew her. 

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The mission of the Center for Nonviolent Social Change is to spread the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. to a broader, global constituency. The center is run by their son, Dexter Scott King. 

(With over 650,000 visitors annually, the Center for Nonviolent Social Change is the most visited cultural and tourist attraction in the southeastern USA. The center monitors and reports on the impact of Dr. King’s legacy on the world. Also, the Center develops programs that educate the world about Dr. King’s philosophy and methods of nonviolence, human relations, service to mankind, and related teachings; builds a national and international network of organizations that, through sanctioned programs, promote, compliment, and help further the organization’s mission and objectives of building the beloved community that Dr. King envisioned; functions as a clearinghouse for non-profit organizations and government agencies which utilize Dr. King’s image and writings for programs and ensuring that the programs are historically and interpretively accurate and consistent with building the beloved community that Dr. King envisioned; manages visitor services for the Freedom Hall complex in Atlanta.)


Full Biography of Coretta Scott King at
http://scu.edu/ethics/architects-of-peace/King/homepage.html

Quotes from Coretta Scott King

World United
"As we begin the twenty-first century, I think it is important that people of every race, religion, and nation join together to develop a shared vision of a world united in justice, peace, and harmony." (link Full quote from essay Working Toward Peace)

"At the dawn of the twenty-first century, we have an historic opportunity for a great global healing and renewal. If we will accept the challenge of nonviolent activism with faith, courage, and determination, we can bring this great vision of a world united in peace and harmony from a distant ideal into a glowing reality." (same source)

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Inclusion 
"We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny . . . I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be," Coretta Scott King said, quoting her husband. "I've always felt that homophobic attitudes and policies were unjust and unworthy of a free society and must be opposed by all Americans who believe in democracy." Mrs. King told 600 people at the Palmer House Hilton in 1998, just days before the 30th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. assassination that occurred on April 4, 1968. Mrs. King said the civil rights movement "thrives on unity and inclusion, not division and exclusion." Her husband's struggle parallels that of the gay rights movement, she said. - Chicago Sun Times, April 1, 1998, p.18.

Justice is Indivisible
"For too long, our nation has tolerated the insidious form of discrimination against this group of Americans, who have worked as hard as any other group, paid their taxes like everyone else, and yet have been denied equal protection under the law.... I believe that freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. My husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” On another occasion he said, “I have worked too long and hard against segregated public accommodations to end up segregating my moral concern. Justice is indivisible.” Like Martin, I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others. So I see this bill as a step forward for freedom and human rights in our country and a logical extension of the Bill of Rights and the civil rights reforms of the 1950’s and ‘60’s. The great promise of American democracy is that no group of people will be forced to suffer discrimination and injustice. - Coretta Scott King, remarks, press conference on the introduction of ENDA, Washington, DC, June 23, 1994.

More Quotes from Coretta Scott King

biography and photo at
http://scu.edu/ethics/architects-of-peace/King/homepage.html 

Essay by Coretta Scott King on Working Toward Peace

Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia USA

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