April 04, 2018

Statement of Hilarie Bass, ABA president Re: 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death

WASHINGTON, April 4, 2018 — On this day 50 years ago, the world lost Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During his 39 years, cut tragically short, Dr. King led a movement that accomplished more genuine progress toward racial equality than in the prior three centuries.

His dream that people will “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character" and his belief that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” still inspire millions in the U.S. and worldwide.

Dr. King used the power of words and nonviolent resistance, such as protests, grassroots organizing, and civil disobedience, to accomplish what many believed impossible. He taught us that nonviolent direct resistance was not a meek surrender but a spiritual confrontation of injustice. He insisted that violence ends in “tragic bitterness” while nonviolence results in the creation of what he called “the beloved community,” a society based on equal opportunity, decency, justice, and love of one’s fellow man.

The American Bar Association is fully committed to advancing the mission that Dr. King spent his life pursuing. We should all remember his message of reconciliation and his steely resolve to peacefully confront society’s wrongs. The words he wrote in a jail cell in Birmingham in 1963 still ring true today: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We are all tasked to carry on his legacy, to help people at all levels of society reach the mountain top, look over it, and see the Promised Land.

Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

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