With renewed dedication to humanity Martin Luther King accepted the Nobel Peace Prize prize in 1964 on behalf of all men who love peace and brotherhood. He expressed hope for a brighter tomorrow in his acceptance speech.
“…I accept the Nobel Prize for Peace… on behalf of a civil rights movement… to establish a reign of freedom and a rule of justice….
…this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time — the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression….. …nonviolence is… a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation.
Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace…. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love….
I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind…. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life…. 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 believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. I believe… there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow…. 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 still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land.
‘And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together, and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid.’ I still believe that We Shall Overcome!
This faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born.
Today I come… inspired and with renewed dedication to humanity. I accept this prize on behalf of all men who love peace and brotherhood…. I am aware that this prize is much more than an honor to me personally.
Every time I take a flight, I am always mindful of the many people who make a successful journey possible — the known pilots and the unknown ground crew.
So you honor the dedicated pilots of our struggle who have sat at the controls as the freedom movement soared into orbit. You honor the ground crew without whose labor and sacrifices the jet flights to freedom could never have left the earth. Most of these people will never make the headline and their names will not appear in Who’s Who. Yet when years have rolled past and when the blazing light of truth is focused on this marvellous age in which we live — men and women will know and children will be taught that we have a finer land, a better people, a more noble civilization — because these humble children of God were willing to suffer for righteousness’ sake….
I think Alfred Nobel would understand what I mean when I say that I accept this award in the spirit of a curator of some precious heirloom which he holds in trust for its true owners — all those to whom beauty is truth and truth beauty — and in whose eyes the beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold.”
(Martin Luther King, Jr.)