Martin Luther King III: 'Hope for a Peaceful World'

Beliefnet interviews the son of the famed civil rights leader on the importance of peace education.

BY: Jennifer E. Jones


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How do you feel this current generation views Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy? Do you find that they connect with his stance on unity and peace?

It’s clear to me that millions of young people understand and value my father’s legacy of social change through nonviolence. I’m not saying that there are not many who have not yet gotten his message. We still have an enormous job to do in educating people about my father’s philosophy and methods of nonviolence. But I do believe that every year, more and more young people are becoming aware of the power of nonviolence through their study of my father’s life and leadership. This is what we are about at The King Center – educating young people across America and around the world in leveraging the power of nonviolence as a force for lasting peace with justice.

Martin Luther King, Jr’s great cause was racial civil rights. Do you feel like that dream has been realized or do we still have a ways to go?

My father’s leadership was about more than civil rights. He was deeply concerned with human rights and world peace, and he said so on numerous occasions. He was a civil rights leader, true. But he was increasingly focused on human rights and a global concern and peace as an imperative. He understood that war drains valuable resources and makes it impossible for a nation to create economic opportunity for all citizens.

His dream has not yet been realized. The election of an African American president was a very significant step forward toward fulfilling the dream. But African Americans are still less than 3 percent of all elected officials in the U.S., even though we are over 13 percent of the population of the U.S. People of color are still underrepresented in the executive suites as well. We have made progress in terms of racial justice in many areas. But we have a long way to go before we can truthfully say that the dream of equal opportunity for all has been achieved.

Continued on page 3: The Newark Peace Education Summit... »

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