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A Testament of Hope by Martin Luther King Jr.

The essential writings of Martin Luther King Jr.

Stephanie Wong | 14 Aug 2018

A book image of A Testament of Hope by Martin Luther King Jr.

Image credit: Act Build Change.

And Ive seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.

— Martin Luther King Jr.

Those prophetic words uttered the day before his murder, challenges all of us to see that his promised land of racial justice become a reality: a reality to which King gave his life.

Three Takeaways

  1. Nonviolence is not passive: It is strategic courage
  2. Nonviolence brings constructive tension
  3. Justice can never wait

Martin Luther King Jr. is a leader who radically changed the course of American history. His legacy continues to influence the lives of people around the globe.

A testament of Hope shares his triumphs, struggles and vision of the future through sermons, essays, personal reflections, and speeches: Including I Have a Dream, A Letter from Birmingham City Jail, Why We Cant Wait and other writings.


Coretta Scott King welcomes her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Image credit: Academy of Achievement.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a deeply religious man and his belief guided his work. Throughout the book King addresses the tendency of many of us to mistake nonviolence for passivity, pointing out that it is a form not of cowardice but of courage:

(N)onviolent resistance is not a method for cowards; it does resist. If one uses this method because he is afraid or merely because he lacks the instruments of violence, he is not truly nonviolent The way of nonviolent resistance is ultimately the way of the strong manThe method is passive physically but strongly active spiritually. It is not passive non-resistance to evil, it is active nonviolent resistance to evil.

— Martin Luther King Jr.

Nonviolence raises us from our dark depths, awakens our moral shame and carves out space for us to love each other.

Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.

— Martin Luther King Jr.


We can only close the gap in our broken communities by meeting hate with love. Through methods of nonviolence not only do we resist our opponent, we seek to love and understand them. We must cut the chains of hate and centre love in all our actions across our lives. To bring about the world many of us are seeking requires nothing less.