Editorial: Some words of wisdom from Dr. M.L. King Jr.

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 17, 2019

I grew up in the ’60s, watching the Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movement on the nightly television news.

Both were scary. The images of war definitely made some wrinkles on my brain, but I don’t talk about that much. Those who were in the war have images that will never go away. There’s no comparison.

But the images of the Civil Rights Movement were different. It was a war of sorts, playing out all across the country. Even in Davie County, tension was heavy as schools were integrated.

That movement led to some needed changes in our laws. And it started — mind you, just started — to change the way we think. We’ll probably struggle with equal rights for all forever. It’s too easy to think someone else is getting something they don’t deserve, whether it be a job or government help.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood nobly at the top of the Civil Rights Movement. He wasn’t perfect, as he would tell you himself, but he knew the difference from right and wrong and wasn’t afraid to speak.

Following are some of his quotes, and they’re just as appropriate today as when spoken in the ’60s:

“Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

“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.”

“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”

“When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last’.”