Statement on the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 15, 1985

When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., began his career, the principles of social justice for which he stood were very controversial. But by the end of his career, he was a deeply respected leader of international stature who helped lead an extraordinary revolution in America's laws and customs. His moving example of dignity in the face of threats and hatred gave the whole Nation a new hero to admire and emulate.

Martin Luther King knew that America's democracy was imperfect, but he also knew that America's conscience was a powerful force for reform. His unique combination of moral leadership and practical political wisdom enlisted America's conscience on the side of peaceful change.

The memory of Martin Luther King is engraved in the hearts and minds of his fellow Americans. It is appropriate that we remember him today and that we remember and honor the values for which he stood.