“Victories for justice and victories for democracy”

I think this is the thing that must guide us along; this attitude that we will be able to go into the new age and make this new age a truly meaningful new age. We will go into the new age with the proper attitude, we will not go into the new age with the psychology of victors—even when we win decisions in Federal Courts and the Supreme Court. We will not take the myriad victors for the colored people. We will come to see that they are victories for justice and victories for democracy. – MLK, 1958 Commencement Address, Morgan St College

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I know the temptation that comes to all of us.

Those of us who have been trampled over so long; those of us who have been the victims of injustice; those of us who have had to stand amid the viciousness of lynch mobs; those of us who have had to stand amid bombings; there is the temptation for us to enter the new age with bitterness in our hearts.

I know the temptation, but if we enter the new age with this attitude, the new order, which is emerging would be nothing but a duplication of the old order. Somebody must have sense enough to cut off the chain of hate in the universe. Somebody must have sense enough to meet hate with love. Somebody must have sense enough to meet physical force with soul force. I think this is the challenge facing us at this hour. This is why I believe so firmly in the way of love and non-violence.

 – MLK, 1958 Commencement Address, Morgan St College

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If it befalls your luck to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Raphael painting pictures;

…sweep streets like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry; sweep streets so well that all of the hosts of Heaven and earth will have to pause and say, here lived a great street sweeper—he swept his job well; if you can’t be a pile on the top of the hill, be a shrub in the valley, but be the best shrub on the side of the hill; be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, be a trail. If you can’t be the sun, be a star, for it isn’t by size that you win or you fail, be the best of whatever you are. – MLK, 1958 Commencement Address, Morgan St College

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Go out to do a good job. Do it well.

This is the challenge of the hour. Do it so well nobody could do it better. Do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. Do it so well that the living, the dead and unborn could not do it better. – MLK, 1958 Commencement Address, Morgan St College

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We are challenged to achieve excellence in our various fields of endeavor.

Those of you who graduate today have opportunities that did not come to your mothers and fathers. Doors are opening today that were not opened yesterday. The challenge of this hour is to be ready to enter these doors when they open.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said in an essay back in 1871 that: “If a man can write a better book or preach a better sermon or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, even if he builds his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.” This will become increasingly true. So we must be prepared to enter these doors as they open.- MLK, 1958 Commencement Address, Morgan St College

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