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Martin Luther King

Date de naissance: 18. janvier 1929
Date de décès: 4. avril 1968

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Martin Luther King Jr., né à Atlanta le 15 janvier 1929 et mort assassiné le 4 avril 1968 à Memphis , est un pasteur baptiste afro-américain, militant non-violent pour les droits civiques des Noirs aux États-Unis, pour la paix et contre la pauvreté.

Il organise et dirige des actions telles que le boycott des bus de Montgomery pour défendre le droit de vote, la déségrégation et l'emploi des minorités ethniques. Il prononce un discours célèbre le 28 août 1963 devant le Lincoln Memorial à Washington durant la marche pour l'emploi et la liberté : « I have a dream ». Il est soutenu par John F. Kennedy dans la lutte contre la ségrégation raciale aux États-Unis ; la plupart de ces droits seront promus par le « Civil Rights Act » et le « Voting Rights Act » sous la présidence de Lyndon B. Johnson.

Martin Luther King devient le plus jeune lauréat du prix Nobel de la paix en 1964 pour sa lutte non-violente contre la ségrégation raciale et pour la paix. Il commence alors une campagne contre la guerre du Viêt Nam et la pauvreté, qui prend fin en 1968 avec son assassinat officiellement attribué à James Earl Ray, dont la culpabilité et la participation à un complot sont toujours débattues.

Il se voit décerner à titre posthume la médaille présidentielle de la Liberté par Jimmy Carter en 1977, le prix des droits de l'homme des Nations unies en 1978, la médaille d'or du Congrès en 2004, et est considéré comme l'un des plus grands orateurs américains. Depuis 1986, le Martin Luther King Day est jour férié aux États-Unis.

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Citations Martin Luther King

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„Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches
Context: The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. … Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. 'Where Do We Go From Here?" as published in Where Do We Go from Here : Chaos or Community? (1967), p. 62; many statements in this book, or slight variants of them, were also part of his address Where Do We Go From Here?" which has a section below. A common variant appearing at least as early as 1968 has "Returning violence for violence multiplies violence..." An early version of the speech as published in A Martin Luther King Treasury (1964), p. 173, has : "Returning hate for hate multiplies hate..."

„There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right....“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches
Context: On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" And Vanity comes along and asks the question, "Is it popular?" But Conscience asks the question "Is it right?" And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. Context: On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" And Vanity comes along and asks the question, "Is it popular?" But Conscience asks the question "Is it right?" And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. I believe today that there is a need for all people of good will to come together with a massive act of conscience and say in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "We ain't goin' study war no more." This is the challenge facing modern man. "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution" (31 March 1968)

„Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr.
Speech to the Second National Convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights – Chicago (25 March 1966), as quoted in Dan Munro, "America's Forgotten Civil Right - Healthcare" http://www.forbes.com/sites/danmunro/2013/08/28/americas-forgotten-civil-right-healthcare/, Forbes (28 August 2013). See also: Amanda Moore, "Tracking Down Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Words on Health Care", Huffington Post (18 August 2013) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amanda-moore/martin-luther-king-health-care_b_2506393.html

„True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar.“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr.
Context: A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be changed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth with righteous indignation. It will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say, "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war, "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

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