Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The following excerpt is taken from Martin Luther King Jr.’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech on December 10, 1964.

I must ask why this prize is awarded to a movement which is beleagured and committed to unrelenting struggle; to a movement which has not won the very peace and brotherhood which is the essense of the Nobel Prize.

After contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time – – the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood, If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

Martin Luther King – Acceptance Speech []