If we are to have peace on Earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. No individual can live alone, no nation can live alone—and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in this world. The judgment of God is upon us, and we must either learn to live together as brothers or we’re all going to perish together as fools.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Born: January 15, 1929

Died: April 4, 1968 (Age 39)

Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs and inspired by the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.

In 1968, King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., to be called the Poor People's Campaign, when he was assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee. King's death was followed by riots in many U.S. cities. King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established as a holiday in numerous cities and states beginning in 1971, and as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986.

Available Documents: 3

Christmas Sermon on Peace and Nonviolence
December 24, 1967
The fifth and last lecture of the Massey Lecture series, delivered at King's home church, Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
The Chief Characteristics and Doctrines of Mahayana Buddhism
April 28, 1950
In this paper, written for G. W. Davis’s course History of Living Religions at Crozer Theological Seminary, King explores the tenets of Mahayana Buddhism and implicitly associates that religion’s morality and popular appeal with the ideals of Christianity. King drew chiefly on S. Radhakrishnan’s Indian Philosophy and J. B. Pratt’s The Pilgrimage of Buddhism. (King later met Radhakrishnan during his 1959 trip to India.) Davis gave King an A for the paper, calling it “a clear statement,” and a B+ for the course overall.
Where Do We Go From Here?
August 16, 1967
Delivered at the 11th Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, about seven months before King's assassination.

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