Read some of MLK’S lesser-known quotes The civil rights leader and Bap­tist preacher de­liv­ered a uni­ver­sal mes­sage.

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Front Page -

We all know that the Rev. Mar­tin Luther King Jr. had a dream. But he ut­tered many other in­sight­ful, mean­ing­ful and in­spi­ra­tional quotes in his amaz­ing but way too brief pub­lic ca­reer.

I chose three of them to share with my 11th­grade Ad­vanced Place­ment English Lan­guage and Com­po­si­tion stu­dents and Amer­i­can Lit­er­a­ture stu­dents.

Their task? Choose one and re­flect on it in two or three para­graphs. What does King mean? Is he right? Can you think of ex­am­ples in your own read­ing, ob­ser­va­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence that il­lus­trate his point?

The first quote: “Life’s most per­sis­tent and ur­gent ques­tion is, ‘What are you do­ing for oth­ers?’

We get so caught up in our own busy lives, but King is right — this ques­tion is per­sis­tent and ur

gent. We must stop and ask our­selves fre­quently and re­mind our­selves that the an­swer mat­ters:

What are we do­ing for oth­ers?

The stu­dents wrote of things large and small. They men­tioned feed­ing the home­less at a food bank, boost­ing a friend’s morale, tak­ing out the trash with­out Mom hav­ing to ask.

They men­tioned grat­i­tude for what they have and how help­ing oth­ers made their own prob­lems seem small.

The se­cond quote: “We must ac­cept fi­nite dis­ap­point­ment, but never lose in­fi­nite hope.”

As a minister who preached the Gospel, King knew that suf­fer­ing is part of life. There will be suf­fer­ing, there will be fail­ures, there will be dis­ap­point­ment; but we must never aban­don hope.

Ro­mans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may over­flow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Hell, as Dante tell us, is where all hope is aban­doned.

King’s mes­sage per­tained specif­i­cally to African­amer­i­cans and their strug­gle for civil rights. But it ap­plies to anyone.

Some of the stu­dents re­lated it to school and the dis­ap­point­ment of do­ing poorly on a test but work­ing hard and hold­ing on to the hope that the work will pay off on the next one.

The third quote: “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.”

And here you thought the goal of a true ed­u­ca­tion was to fill in dots on the lat­est trendy stan­dard­ized test.

No, it is im­por­tant to know dates and events, and me­moriz­ing a pas­sage from a speech or a poem is an in­valu­able skill. But it must go be­yond mem­o­riza­tion of facts.

A true ed­u­ca­tion, the stu­dents noted, makes you think, makes you draw com­par­isons be­tween events and sit­u­a­tions, makes you ask ques­tions, makes you want to learn more on your own.

And char­ac­ter ed­u­ca­tion, though of­ten shunned in pub­lic schools, nonethe­less can be de­vel­oped through the study of great fig­ures like Mar­tin Luther King Jr.

Study his words, study their mean­ing. Like we just did here on page three.

Wil­liam P. War­ford’s col­umn ap­pears ev­ery Tues­day, Fri­day and Sun­day.

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