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"You cannot substitute one tyranny for the other, and for the Black man to be struggling for justice and then turn around and be anti-Semitic, is not only a very irrational course, but it is a very immoral course, and whenever we have seen anti-Semitism we have condemned it with all our might."

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. challenged the country’s well-established structure of segregation and
racial discrimination by leading marches and boycotts in the Jim Crow South. He inspired people across the nation with his commanding oratory and committed his life to extinguishing the flames of racism, which had divided our country since the days of slavery. By exposing Americans to his dream of universal civil rights through non-violent protest he helped transform our collective conscience.

We pay tribute to a man whose pursuit of equality and justice helped shape a vision of America as a country where all people could live and work together without regard to their color, creed or religion.

ADL pays special tribute to Dr. King for his dedication to combating anti-Semitism. He was a leader in the struggle to free Soviet Jewry and supported Israel’s right to a secure and independent state. His deep understanding of our shared history helped usher in an era of steady cooperation and mutual respect. Dr. King understood that, "The segregationists and racists make no fine distinction between the Negro and the Jew."

His commitment to fighting anti-Semitism continued throughout his life. In a letter to Jewish leaders just months before his death Dr. King stated, "I will continue to oppose it [anti-Semitism], because it is immoral and self-destructive." His life was truly his message, and today his message continues to transcend race, religion and time.

Perhaps King’s greatest legacy was his conviction that justice for Black people could not be achieved in a vacuum—but rather that all Americans must live free from oppression in order to guarantee freedom. The most fitting honor we can pay Dr. King on his birthday is to recommit ourselves to the principles of social justice for which he gave his life.

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Related Sites
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The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, JR.

( The Seattle Times)
The Birmingham Pledge
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