COMMENTARY: Why Martin Luther King is a Hero 758.2

The dictionary defines a hero as “a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life.” A “personal hero” is someone you or I hold in especially high esteem. For me, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is both a national and personal hero.

I have no illusions that he was a flawless man. I simply have the conviction that his virtues far outweighed his faults and that this nation is a better place because of him.

When I read his speeches and weigh them in the context of his times, and consider his ability and courage to pursue his aggressive, but nonviolent, humanitarian principles, despite enormous pressures from those who thought he was going too far, as well as those who thought he wasn’t going far enough, I conclude that he was an extraordinarily inspirational leader with uncommon vision and strength.

Dr. King didn’t simply talk about his dreams; he went to the battle lines time and time again to fight for them. Before he was finally murdered at the age of 39, his home had been bombed and he knew he put his life at risk continuously to advocate social justice, human dignity, and an end to racism and bigotry.

We have not yet fully reached Dr. King’s Promised Land, where all people will be judged by the content of their character, but we are certainly closer to it because of him.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

I hope you’ll take a look at the top MLK quotes I assembled.

Comments 2

  1. Many people are confused about Martin Luther King, Jr. They think he is a black hero because of what he did for black Americans. They are wrong, The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. is an American hero because his courageous work has helped all Americans live the dream of America. Listen to Dr. King’s speechs, read his biographies, you will learn that he is a hero for all Americans. The nation is a better place because of his life. Imagine what this country would be like today if the Jim Crow laws on the books in 1960 were still the law of the these states. It is embarrassing enough to look back to those days and see that is how we lived; I cannot imagine how I would feel if these laws were still being enforced. I lived through some of this as a child during the 1950’s. I was discriminated against as an eight year old because of the color of my skin. My father was born in Kentucky, still the South. When we visited his ancestral home we, as Negroes, were treated as second class citizens. I saw signed reading for Whites Only. This kind of discrimination harms the White person as much as the Negro person . . . we are both human beings. Signs reading White Only destroys the character of white people.

  2. I admire Dr. King most of all for his adherence to Christ’s teaching to love everyone, including our enemies. This type of love is described by the Greek word agape, which means to will the well-being of all people. Dr. King consistently demonstrated this unconditional goodwill toward the people who were persecuting him and taught his followers to do the same. By refusing to return evil for evil, he pricked the conscience of the nation. As he said in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize, “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.”

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