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

— Martin Luther King, Jr., A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

„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..."

„If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving.“

— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Context: We must keep moving. If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving. "Keep Moving from this Mountain" http://www5.spelman.edu/about_us/news/pdf/70622_messenger.pdf – Founders Day Address at the Sisters Chapel, Spelman College (11 April 1960)

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„The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.“

— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Context: The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige and even his life for the welfare of others. Strength to Love, p. 25

„We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.“

— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Context: I must admit to you that there are still jail cells waiting for us, and dark and difficult moments. But if we will go on with the faith that nonviolence and its power can transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows, we will be able to change all of these conditions. And so I plead with you this afternoon as we go ahead: remain committed to nonviolence. Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding. We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man.

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„Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.“

— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Context: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Therefore, no American can afford to be apathetic about the problem of racial justice. It is a problem that meets every man at his front door.

„So somehow the "isness" of our present nature is out of harmony with the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts us. And this simply means this: That within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals.“

— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Context: There is something within all of us that causes us to cry out with Ovid, the Latin poet, "I see and approve the better things of life, but the evil things I do." There is something within all of us that causes us to cry out with Plato that the human personality is like a charioteer with two headstrong horses, each wanting to go in different directions. There is something within each of us that causes us to cry out with Goethe, "There is enough stuff in me to make both a gentleman and a rogue." There is something within each of us that causes us to cry out with Apostle Paul, "I see and approve the better things of life, but the evil things I do." So somehow the "isness" of our present nature is out of harmony with the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts us. And this simply means this: That within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals. The person who hates you most has some good in him; even the nation that hates you most has some good in it; even the race that hates you most has some good in it. And when you come to the point that you look in the face of every man and see deep down within him what religion calls "the image of God," you begin to love him in spite of. No matter what he does, you see God’s image there. There is an element of goodness that he can never sluff off. Discover the element of good in your enemy. And as you seek to hate him, find the center of goodness and place your attention there and you will take a new attitude.

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