“The arc of the moral universe is long, but bends toward justice.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 to April 4, 1968)
Dr. King was an American Baptist minister, activist, and leader of the Civil Rights Movement. He was a proponent of civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Late in his life, Dr. King expanded his concerns to achieving economic justice and ending the Vietnam War; he was murdered by an assassin in 1968.
Dr. King was paraphrasing Theodore Parker, a minister, Abolitionist, and reformer who wrote a longer passage in approximately 1850. Dr. King condensed Parker’s passage and made it even more powerful.
“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one…. And from what I see I am sure it bends toward justice.” ~ Theodore Parker (August 24, 1810 to May 10, 1860)
Dr. King was accused of plagiarism during his life and after his death. However, Dr. King was synthesizing large numbers of sources.
In my opinion, Dr. King was clearly one of the finest orators in American and world history. His “I Have a Dream” speech – delivered on August 28, 1963 – is powerful and profoundly moving.
[Source: National Public Radio (NPR) “All Things Considered”, September 2, 2010. Biographical information for Dr. King known to me and verified through use of Wikipedia. Quotation of Parker verified through use of Wikipedia. Biographical information for Theodore Parker verified through use of Wikipedia. Wikipedia accessed September 2, 2010].