But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label.

from Martin Luther King, Jr – Letter From Birmingham Jail on Rap Genius

Meaning

The term “extremist” generally comes with negative connotations. It provokes images of killing or inflicting serious harm to others in order to promote your cause by any means necessary. But Dr. King came to realize that when your cause is good, being called an extremist is actually a compliment. Dr. King is promoting equality, peace, and love, and who wouldn’t want to be known as a strong supporter of those values? He then goes on to list other “extremists” that did a lot of good for this world in order to prove his point.

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