Attaining Moral Perfection等
In the various enumerations of the moral virtues I had met with in my reading, I found the catalogue more or less numerous，as different writers included more or fewer ideas under the same name. I proposed to myself, for the sake of clearness, to use rather more names，
with fewer ideas annexed to each, than a few names with more ideas; and I included under thirteen names of virtues all that at that time occurred to me as necessary or desirable, and annexed to each a short precept, which fully expressed the extent I gave to its meaning.
These names of virtues, with their precepts, were:
1.TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
2.SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
3.ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
4.RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
5.FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
6.INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
7.SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
8.JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
9.MODERATION. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10.CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
11.TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
12.CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
13.HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
My intention being to acquire the habitude of all these virtues, I judged it would be well not to distract my attention by attempting the whole at once, but to fix it on one of them at a time; and, when I should be master of that, then to proceed to another, and so on, till I should have gone through the thirteen; and, as the previous acquisition of some might facilitate the acquisition of certain others, I arranged them with that view, as they stand above. Temperance first， it tends to procure that coolness and clearness of head, which is so necessary where constant vigilance was to be kept up, and guard maintained against the unremitting attraction of ancient habits，
and the force of perpetual temptations. This being acquired and established, Silence would be more easy; and my desire being to gain knowledge at the same time that I improved in virtue, and considering that in conversation it was obtained rather by the use of the ears than of the tongue, and therefore wishing to break a habit I was getting into of prattling, punning，and joking，which only made me acceptable to trifling company, I gave Silence the second place. This and the next, Order, I expected would allow me more time for attending to my project and my studies. Resolution, once become habitual, would keep me firm in my endeavors to obtain all the subsequent virtues; Frugality and Industry freeing me from my remaining debt, and producing affluence and independence, would make more easy the practice of Sincerity and Justice, etc., etc. Conceiving then, that, agreeably to the advice of Pythagoras in his Golden Verses, daily examination would be necessary.
How Could I Love a Race of People Who Hated Me
There was a pretty strict system of segregation in Atlanta. For a long, long time I could not go swimming, until there was a Negro YMCA. A Negro child in Atlanta could not go to any public park. I could not go to the so-called white schools. In many of the stores downtown, I couldn't go to a lunch counter to buy a hamburger or a cup of coffee. I could not attend any of the theaters. There were one or two Negro theaters, but they didn't get any of the main pictures. If they did get them, they got them two or three years later.
I had grown up abhorring not only segregation but also the oppressive and barbarous acts that grew out of it. I had seen police brutality with my own eyes, and watched Negroes receive the most tragic injustice in the courts. I can remember the organization known as the Ku Klux Klan. It stands out white supremacy, and it was an organization that in those days even used violent methods to preserve segregation and to keep the Negro in his place, so to speak. I remember seeing the Klan actually beat a Negro. I had passed spots where Negroes had been savagely lynched. All of these things did something to my growing personality.
In my late childhood and early adolescence, two incidents happened that had a tremendous effect on my development. The first was the first empty seats at the front of the store. A young white clerk came up and murmured politely:
"I'll be happy to wait on you if you'll just move to those seats in the rear."
Dad immediately retorted, "There's nothing wrong with these seats. We're quite comfortable here."
"Sorry，" said the clerk, "but you'll have to move."
"We'll either buy shoes sitting here，" my father retorted, "or we won't buy shoes at all."
Whereupon he took me by the hand and walked out of the store. This was the first time I had seen Dad so furious. The experience revealed to me at a very early age that my father had not adjusted to the system, and he played a great part in shaping my conscience. I still remember walking down the street beside him as he muttered, "I don't care how long I have to live with this system, I will never accept it."
And he never has. I remember riding with him another day when he accidently drove past a stop sign. A policeman pulled up to the car and said:
"All right, boy, pull over and let me see your license."
My father instantly retorted: "Let me make it clear to you that you aren't talking to a boy. If you persist in referring to me as boy, I will be forced to act as if I don't hear a word you are saying."
The policeman was so shocked in hearing a Negro talk to him so forthrightly that he didn't quite know how to respond. He nervously wrote the ticket and left the scene as quickly as possible.