Martin Luther King Day:
An Opportunity to Reflect and Act
A Belief in a Beloved Community
Monday, January 17, 2022 marks Martin Luther King Day—an opportunity to remember and honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—a world-revered minister, civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner whose speeches and essays about equal rights, social justice and nonviolence stirred millions. Rev. King is known for popularizing the term “The Beloved Community,” which according to the King Center was first used in the early 20th century by the philosopher-theologian Josiah Royce, founder of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. However, it was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., also a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, who popularized the term and gave it a deeper meaning which has captured the imagination of people world-wide.
Several of Rev. King’s many references to the Beloved Community are included below:
"There is another element that must be present in our struggle that then makes our resistance and nonviolence truly meaningful. That element is reconciliation. Our ultimate end must be the creation of the beloved community."
April 15, 1960, in Raleigh, North Carolina
"Our goal is to create a beloved community and
this will require a qualitative change in our souls
as well as a quantitative change in our lives."
~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Establishing Martin Luther King Day as a national holiday was a difficult battle, supported by his widow, Coretta Scott King. After it was accomplished she said, “We call you to commemorate this Holiday by making your personal commitment to serve humanity with the vibrant spirit of unconditional love that was his greatest strength, and which empowered all of the great victories of his leadership. And with our hearts open to this spirit of unconditional love, we can indeed achieve the Beloved Community of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream.”