Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) was an African-American Civil Rights leader who earned the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize for championing nonviolent activism during the 1950s-1960s Civil Rights era. He is most famous for indelible American events such as his 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C., the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, as well as his criticism of the war in Vietnam. Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. The third Monday of January is recognized as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States.
The following quote is derived from a speech Dr. King gave at the Golden Anniversary Conference of the National Urban League in September 1960. He explained that the process by which you solve a problem is to remove its cause, and then proceeded to articulately outline his plan and rationale for extinguishing the embers of inequality. Dr. King was a religious man who possessed an exceptional ability to appeal to humanist values. Fighting discrimination was not just God's cause, King iterated. It is man's cause.
"Whenever racial discrimination exists it is a tragic expression of man’s spiritual degeneracy and moral bankruptcy. Therefore, it must be removed not merely because it is diplomatically expedient, but because it is morally compelling."
Source: The Rising Tide of Racial Consciousness (1960)