Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of my personal heroes. Not just because of his outsized contribution to the civil rights movement, but because of his leadership capabilities and emphasis on non-violent civil disobedience. It also goes without saying, that this wasn’t just a great orator with enlightened tactics, he was also a highly intelligent man with a strong sense of history. This is on full display in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” which I highlighted in the piece: Martin Luther King: “Everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was Legal.”Here are some of his timeless words.
One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice.