We must join the war against poverty and believe in the dignity of all work.

What makes a job menial? I’m tired of this stuff about menial labor. What makes it menial is that we don’t pay folk anything. (Yes, sir) Give somebody a job and pay them some money so they can live and educate their children and buy a home and have the basic necessities of life. And no matter what the job is it takes on dignity. — MLK, The American Dream

Advertisements
Standard

I have learned a great deal in my few years, not only from the philosophers that I have studied with in the universities…

not only from the theologians and the psychologists and the historians, but so often from that humble human being who didn’t have the opportunity to get an education but who had something basic deep down within. Sometimes Aunt Jane on her knees can get more truth than the philosopher on his tiptoes.  And this is what “all men are made in the image of God” tells us. We must believe this and we must live by it.

Standard

We are challenged more than ever before to respect the dignity and the worth of all human personality.

We are challenged to really believe that all men are created equal. And don’t misunderstand that. It does not mean that all men are created equal in terms of native endowment, in terms of intellectual capacity—it doesn’t mean that. There are certain bright stars in the human firmament in every field. It doesn’t mean that every musician is equal to a Beethoven or Handel, a Verdi or a Mozart. It doesn’t mean that every physicist is equal to an Einstein. It does not mean that every literary figure in history is equal to Aeschylus and Euripides, Shakespeare and Chaucer. It does not mean that every philosopher is equal to Plato, Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, and Friedrich Hegel. It doesn’t mean that. There are individuals who do excel and rise to the heights of genius in their areas and in their fields. What it does mean is that all men are equal in intrinsic worth.

Standard

(The Declaration of Independence) goes on to say another thing that ultimately distinguishes our nation and our form of government from any totalitarian system in the world.

It says that each of us has certain basic rights that are neither derived from or conferred by the state. In order to discover where they came from, it is necessary to move back behind the dim mist of eternity. They are God-given, gifts from His hands. Never before in the history of the world has a sociopolitical document expressed in such profound, eloquent, and unequivocal language the dignity and the worth of human personality. The American dream reminds us, and we should think about it anew on this Independence Day, that every man is an heir of the legacy of dignity and worth. — MLK, The American Dream

Standard

The first saying we notice in this dream is an amazing universalism.

It doesn’t say “some men,” it says “all men.” It doesn’t say “all white men,” it says “all men,” which includes black men. It does not say “all Gentiles,” it says “all men,” which includes Jews. It doesn’t say “all Protestants,” it says “all men,” which includes Catholics. (Yes, sir) It doesn’t even say “all theists and believers,” it says “all men,” which includes humanists and agnostics. — MLK, The American Dream

Standard