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Life Lessons from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


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On April 4, 1968, I was just six years old, but I knew something in our world had changed. Because, just down the road in Memphis, Tennessee, our nation's beloved civil rights hero, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated. Growing up, I developed a strong interest in history, especially the civil rights movement--which blossomed further while attending Little Rock Central High School. This curiosity encouraged me to delve deeper into Dr. King's life and his far-reaching impact on our country. And, every year, as the King Holiday nears, I take the opportunity to reflect on the lessons he taught me.

* Working Together: "We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

* Perseverance: "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals."

* Service: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"

* Love: "We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love."

One of the greatest lessons I learned from Dr. King came from his speech when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. He said: "We have inherited a big house, a great "world house' in which we have to live together - black and white, Easterners and Westerners…a family unduly separated in ideas, culture, and interests who, because we can never again live without each other, must learn, somehow, in this one big world, to live with each other." Despite all the progress we've made since Dr. King's death, our world often still thinks in divisions. Democrat versus Republican, rural versus urban, male versus female--the list goes on and on. As we celebrate the King Holiday, I hope we'll take Dr. King's life lessons to heart and work together to make our world a better place.

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