Stanford University The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute
January 2013- A National Day of Service: Honoring King’s Legacy with his own method
January 18, 2013

As we prepare to celebrate the King Holiday with a long-weekend, President Obama and the First Lady, the Vice President and Dr. Biden will take part in an event that's become a tradition -- a National Day of Service to honor Dr. King's legacy on 19 Saturday. Following the decadence of the holiday season, such service is an excellent way to commemorate Dr. King’s birthday. In fact, in 1957 King outlined the negative effects of being self-centered and prescribed service as one method of absolution. In the final sermon in the four part series concerning the “Problems of Personality Integration,” he warned, “An individual has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow horizons of his particular individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. And this is one of the big problems of life, that so many people never quite get to the point of rising above self. And so they end up the tragic victims of self-centeredness. They end up the victims of distorted and disrupted personality.” He suggested that “one of the best ways to face this problem of self-centeredness is to discover some cause and some purpose, some loyalty outside of yourself and give yourself to that something.”  To read the full text of the sermon, “Conquering Self-Centeredness,” click here. To find out more about the National Day of Service, visit

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