Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Intelligence and Character

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.  Washington, D.C.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.  Washington, D.C.

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

How do we honor the legacy of the great Martin Luther King, Jr?   Dr. King's service to the nation and the world made him a leader that we can unabashedly call great.  His strengths were intelligence, strong character, a willingness to voice his beliefs and dedication to community service.  If intelligence plus character is the true goal of education, then we can honor Dr. King's legacy by educating ourselves about the entire life of Dr. King, not just his, "I Have a Dream" speech.  We can also choose a cause that we are passionate about and dedicate our time and talents to effectuating meaningful change.  Wisdom + Character + Service = a great human being.

Below are some fantastic quotes from Dr. King, as well as links to all the resources that you will need to better understand Dr. King and his philosophy, and to honor his legacy through service.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial  Washington, D.C.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial  Washington, D.C.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

The full text of Dr. Kings, "I Have a Dream" speech is absolutely beautiful and touches me deeply.  It is readily available on the internet and the video is available on YouTube. Take a few moments to read it aloud; you will feel empowered.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
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.
Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
— Martin Luther King Jr.

This video is the first of 5 Meet the Press appearances.

Expand your knowledge of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., by visiting the website for the King Center.  The website allows you to Add a Dream, which is a great activity to do with a child.

You will also find the King Philosophy, which we can incorporate in our own world view.  The main principles are:


Fundamental tenets of Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence described in his first book, Stride Toward Freedom. The six principles include:

  1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. It is a positive force confronting the forces of injustice, and utilizes the righteous indignation and the spiritual, emotional and intellectual capabilities of people as the vital force for change and reconciliation.
  2. The Beloved Community is the framework for the future. The nonviolent concept is an overall effort to achieve a reconciled world by raising the level of relationships among people to a height where justice prevails and persons attain their full human potential.
  3. Attack forces of evil, not persons doing evil. The nonviolent approach helps one analyze the fundamental conditions, policies and practices of the conflict rather than reacting to one’s opponents or their personalities.
  4. Accept suffering without retaliation for the sake of the cause to achieve the goal. Self-chosen suffering is redemptive and helps the movement grow in a spiritual as well as a humanitarian dimension. The moral authority of voluntary suffering for a goal communicates the concern to one’s own friends and community as well as to the opponent.
  5. Avoid internal violence of the spirit as well as external physical violence. The nonviolent attitude permeates all aspects of the campaign. It provides mirror type reflection of the reality of the condition to one’s opponent and the community at large. Specific activities must be designed to help maintain a high level of spirit and morale during a nonviolent campaign.
  6. The universe is on the side of justice. Truth is universal and human society and each human being is oriented to the just sense of order of the universe. The fundamental values in all of the world’s great religious include the concept that the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice. For the nonviolent practitioner, nonviolence introduces a new moral context in which nonviolence is both the means and the end.

In addition to the King Center, you can find information on the following websites: Biography, NobelPrize.org,. 

Honor Dr. King's legacy by spending a part of the day in service to your local community.  Below are a few websites that will lead you to opportunities to serve.

Points of Light

United We Serve

The King Center



Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. day! Grow into your Greatness!  @Autherine