Ten Outstanding Values of Dr. King

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Ten Outstanding Values of Dr. King

At the heart of Dr. King’s philosophy was the concept of service. He believed that a person’s worth should not be measured by his or her color, culture, or class but rather by his or her commitment to making a better life for all. He said, “We must work increasingly to uplift this nation that we love to a higher destiny, to a higher plateau, to a more noble expression of humanness.” As he once said, “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.’’

During his lifetime, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sought to forge the common ground on which people from all walks of life could join together as equals to address important community issues. This was driven by his commitment to enduring principles and a set of values that he lived his life according to. Some of these are:

1. Courage: Dr. King believed that if you had nothing you were willing to die for, you had nothing you were living for.

2. Non-violence: Even when attacked by police dogs, police clubs, and water hoses, Dr. King and his followers refused to retaliate with physical violence.

3. Soul force: The power of a person’s love and humanity to awaken other people’s consciences.

4. Justice: Dr. King said he wanted to be remembered as a “drum major for justice.” In spite of his non-violence and soul force, he considered that “an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere” and had to be confronted.

5. Community: Dr. King believed that all people are brothers and sisters. He believed that oppression of any part of the human family hurt the whole human family. He envisioned a day when people of all colors, nations, and religions could sit down at the “table of brotherhood.” He called his ideal the “beloved community” and it included every human being.

6. Love: even the enemy is a “neighbor” who must be loved into doing right–for the enemy’s sake as well as for the sakes of his or her victims.

7. Suffering and sacrifice: those who would stand up for justice must be willing to endure much for the sake of their cause.

8. Human dignity: all people deserve to be treated with equality and respect simply because they are human beings.

9. Forgiveness: the victim must forgive the victimizer and make room for repentance and brotherhood.

10. Faith: eventually right will prevail because the universe is founded upon justice.

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