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Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) was born Michael Luther King, Jr., but later had his name changed to Martin. Martin Luther attended segregated public schools in Georgia, graduating from high school at the age of fifteen; he received the B. A. degree in 1948 from Morehouse College. After three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, he was awarded the Bachelor of Divinity in 1951 and enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University, completing his residence for the doctorate in 1953 and receiving the degree in 1955.

In 1954, Martin Luther King accepted the pastoral of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. King was, by this time, a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The ideals for this organization he took from Christianity; its operational techniques from Gandhi. In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times and wrote five books as well as numerous articles. He was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became the symbolic leader of American blacks.

At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city, he was assassinated.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

“If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”

“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”

“A religion true to its natures must also be concerned about man’s social conditions. Religion deals with both earth and heaven, both time and eternity. Religion operates not only on the vertical plane but also on the horizontal. It seeks not only to integrate men with God but to integrate men with men and each man with himself.”

“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

“If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”

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