Nelson Mandela was a master of forgiveness. South Africa’s first black president spent nearly a third of his life as a prisoner of apartheid, yet he sought to win over its defeated guardians in a relatively peaceful transition of power that inspired the world.
The speaker, one of the world’s most recognizable black leaders, was addressing a joint session of the U.S. Congress when he quoted America’s top civil rights leader. “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last,” Nelson Mandela said to a standing ovation, quoting words delivered in a speech whose 50th anniversary comes next week.
President Barack Obama paid tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. Monday as he started his second term on the holiday honoring the iconic civil rights leader.
Monday’s inaugural may be President Barack Obama’s big day, but Martin Luther King Jr. will loom large over the festivities.
By Brett Zongker
, Samantha Gross
On the National Mall in Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. is a towering, heroic figure carved in stone. On the Broadway stage, he’s a living, breathing man who chain smokes, sips liquor and occasionally curses.