On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day…
Every day — but especially today — we should all be reminded to act on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words, his guiding principles for how we make America a better version of herself. A gifted and prolific writer and orator, Dr. King left us with no shortage of words from over fifty years ago that remain incisive and timely today. Today, let his words guide us to the actions we need to each take to bring about the transformation that our community deserves. Below, I’ll let his words speak for themselves.
In a speech about the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Brooklyn, NY in March 1956
We can’t slow up. We can’t slow up and have our dignity and self respect. We can’t slow up because of our love for democracy and our love for America. Someone should tell Faulkner that the vast majority of the people on this globe are colored.
Press on and keep pressing. If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk— CRAWL.
In a Sunday sermon called “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution” in March 1968
This is America’s opportunity to help bridge the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. The question is whether America will do it. There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. The real question is whether we have the will.
It’s alright to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.
In a speech delivered at Dartmouth in a lecture on the state of the American civil rights movement in May 1962
And I say “all over this country” because no section of the United States can boast of clean hands in the area of brotherhood. It is one thing to rise up with righteous indignation when the Negro is lynched in Mississippi, or when a bus of Freedom Riders is burned in Anniston, Alabama. But a white person of goodwill in the North must rise up with as much righteous indignation when the Negro cannot live in his neighborhood simply because he’s a Negro; or when a Negro cannot get a position in his particular firm; or when a Negro cannot join his particular fraternity; cannot join a particular academic society.
Maladjusted. This word is already the pride of modern child psychology. And suddenly we all want to live the well-adjusted life in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities. But I say to you, in my conclusion, that there are certain things within our social order and in the world to which I’m proud to be maladjusted. To which all men of goodwill must be maladjusted until the Good Society is realized. I never intend to adjust myself to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism and the self-defeating effects of physical violence.
In a speech called “Beyond Vietnam in NY in April 1967
True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores, and thereby speed the day when “every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.”
And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.
Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world.
Join the CT3 team in honoring Dr. King today (and every day) — his words, his legacy, his teachings, his sacrifice. Then, join us in acting to make America a better version of herself.
By Nataki Gregory, CT3 CEO
CT3 transforms the quality and culture of education for youth, especially those in traditionally disenfranchised communities.