Corporation for National and Community Service, 1/15/15 — On the 86th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth, let’s reflect on his words and his life before we celebrate the King holiday by serving others.

Excerpted text from Martin Luther King Jr.’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, December 10, 1964

“I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history.

“I refuse to accept the idea that the ‘is-ness’ of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal ‘ought-ness’ that forever confronts him.

“I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him.

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. …

“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.

“I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up. …

“I still believe that we shall overcome.”

Learn more about Dr. King at the Stanford University Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute website

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