Fifty years ago on April 4, Dr. King lost his life by an assassin’s bullet. Dr. King was an American Baptist minister and social activist. He led the Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968. He used the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience in his work for the poor and the forgotten people.

In 1964 he was given the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1968 a federal holiday was created to honor Dr. King. The Martin Luther King Jr. memorial was placed in the National Mall in Washington D.C. in 2011. He was honored in many good ways.

However, his work is not done. His words live on. The best way to honor Dr. King is to remember his words and continue to work to complete his vision of life and peace for all.

Here are some words to start with:

Why I Oppose War: I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the Good News was meant for all men—for communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative?

Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them?

I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood….

We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers. (from his speech at Riverside Church in NYC, April 4, 1967)

Dr. King sought to develop forms of politics and international relations that would not leave in their wake an atmosphere of bitterness, enmity, and distrust.

King lamented how easily “hate multiplies hate, violence multiples violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.”

More words from Dr. King:

It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, for but the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say wait on time….

Social progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals. And without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation.

And so we must help time. We must realize that the time is always right to do right. (from Dr. King’s speech at Stanford University, April 14, 1967).