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King’s legacy lives on; dream not yet realized

It was 50 years ago today our world lost a true leader, but his legacy and words remain just as powerful five decades later.

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated April 4, 1968. It was a sad day for our nation and some of the wounds are still felt today.

The minister and activist was our nation’s most visible spokesperson and leader of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and ‘60s.

King may be most remembered for his “I Have a Dream” speech delivered during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Aug. 28, 1963.

And rightfully so.

In that speech, King called for an end to racism and advocated for civil and economic rights. Delivered to more than 250,000 civil rights supporters while he fittingly stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the speech was a defining moment of the civil rights movement.

The most famous passage is, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!”

But King said so many other powerful words. Here are some that stand out even today:

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. ”

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.”

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

Nothing we do can bring back Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. So we must all honor his legacy by never forgetting his words and striving to make his dream a reality.