Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been 83 years old today, had he lived. He had a vigorous, highly controversial life and died young.
Dr. King left behind some words of wisdom:
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
"The true neighbour will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others."
"We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now."
"Are you able to accept blows without retaliation?"
"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamour of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."
Many people followed him in his mission of civil rights and today I have been remembering the work he did for all of us. When I read some of his writings I am embarrassed and ashamed to see inside my own heart and find it wanting.
This last quote says it best:
"If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive."