Words of a King | 50 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Quotes
Martin Luther King Jr. Day – also known as King Day and MLK Day, among others – is a federal holiday observed in the United States to celebrate the life and the brilliant legacy of the iconic American civil rights activist and clergyman Martin Luther King Jr. This civil rights hero is best known for his relentless campaigns for racial equality and the advancement of civil rights in America purely through nonviolent resistance.
He is also remembered around the globe for his famous I Have A Dream Speech, which he delivered at the 1963 March on Washington. In 1964, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for fighting racial inequality in America through nonviolent means. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 at the age of 38. In honor of King’s remarkable life and legacy, on this MLK Day we would like to share with you some of his most profound and memorable quotes.
- If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.
- Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
- I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
- I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear
- If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.
- The time is always right to do what is right.
- It is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes; but they are derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of white society.
- Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.
- Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself.
- All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
- Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty we are free at last.
- Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.
- Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.
- He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
- Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
- Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
- I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.
- Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
- It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.
- In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
- Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
- Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’
- Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
- If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.
- I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
- Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
- Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.
- History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
- A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.
- When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.
- There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breath.
- Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
- It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.
- We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.
- The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?
- If I wish to compose or write or pray or perch well, I must be angry. Then all the blood in my veins is stirred, and my understanding is sharpened.
- A right delayed is a right denied.
- The Negro needs the white man to free him from his fears. The white man needs the Negro to free him from his guilt.
- Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.
- Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.
- I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.
- Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.
- An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
- A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.
- I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
- I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.
- Any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.
- A riot is the language of the unheard.
- The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.
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