Today is Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. It is also mine.
I think the fact that I’ve always known that I share a birthday with Brother Martin has made me particularly aware of his influence. I’ve long said that I’m sorry that I wasn’t born in time to march with him; I think that I would have been well suited to that fight.
In honor of the occasion, I give you a sampling of the words that resonate with me. I am coming to understand that loving peace does not mean laying down and never engaging in confrontation; in fact it means exactly the opposite. I continue to strive to live up to Martin’s vision of what a compassionate person does, and of what our world could become.
• Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think
• There comes a time when silence is betrayal.
• Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.
• Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.
• Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.
• Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
• He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
• History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
• Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.