Martin Luther King Jr. Even saying his name out loud brings a certain kind of feeling—a reverence and a sense of expectancy. For only 13 years, the nation watched him. All around him was a whirlwind, a whirlwind that blew his country from one era to another. They put him in jail 29 times. Now they have named a national holiday for him.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a minister whose proclamation of the gospel could not be contained by the churches. He was a theologian and philosopher who made the streets into a classroom, where he taught and tested the greatest ideas of his time. He was a political leader who redefined the meaning and purposes of power.
This Baptist preacher was a man of peace who created more turmoil than anyone else of his generation. He was a brilliant tactician who channeled anger and pent-up frustration into nonviolent direct action and, in so doing, translated the undirected rage of an oppressed people into a disciplined movement of heroic self-sacrifice.
King was a black man who, by speaking the truth in love, became the best friend white men and women ever had, though, by and large, they didn't see it. He made nonviolence militant, truth confrontational, and righteousness a threat to established authority. He became the leader of a race, then of a nation, then of the impulse for justice throughout the world. Martin King was the embodiment of the American revolution and offered to us the best hope yet for its fulfillment.