Did you ever stop to think that you can’t leave for your job in the morning without being dependent on most of the world? You get up in the morning and go to the bathroom and reach over for a sponge, and that’s handed to you by a Pacific Islander. You reach for a bar of soap, and that’s given to you at the hands of a Frenchman. And then you go in the kitchen to drink your coffee for the morning, and that’s poured in your cup by a South American. Or maybe you want tea: that’s poured in your cup by a Chinese. Or maybe you’re desirous of having cocoa for breakfast, and that’s poured in your cup by a West African. And then you reach over for your toast, and that’s given to you at the hands of an English-speaking farmer—not to mention the baker! And before you finish eating breakfast in the morning you are dependent on more than half of the world. This is the way our universe is structured. It is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on Earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.

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: 2

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.
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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