Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes

Inspiring Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist, one of the most prominent leaders in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. 

King advanced civil rights for people of color in the United States through nonviolence and civil disobedience. Inspired by his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi, he led targeted, nonviolent resistance against Jim Crow laws and other forms of discrimination.

On October 14, 1964, King won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance.

These Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes about love, life, unity, freedom and racial equality. Inspirational Quotes from MLK Jr.



Inspiring Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation -- either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

No person has the right to rain on your dreams.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

The time is always right to do the right thing.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lightning makes no sound until it strikes.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

What affects one in a major way, affects all in a minor way.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

The day we see the truth and cease to speak is the day we begin to die.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

It does not matter how long you live, but how well you do it.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Without love, there is no reason to know anyone, for love will in the end connect us to our neighbors, our children and our hearts.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have decided to stick to love...Hate is too great a burden to bear.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

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?

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Let's build bridges, not walls.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

It's not the violence of the few that scares me, it's the silence of the many.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Perhaps the worst sin in life is knowing right and not doing it.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they'd die for.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

A man who won't die for something is not fit to live.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars... Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Be The Peace You Wish To See In The World!

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

We are not makers of history. We are made by history.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr

Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

One day we will learn that the heart can never be totally right when the head is totally wrong.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

There comes a time when silence is betrayal.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Not only will we have to repent for the sins of bad people; but we also will have to repent for the appalling silence of good people.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, "Wait on time”.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

The greatest purveyor of violence in the world : My own Government, I can not be Silent.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

If we do an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, we will be a blind and toothless nation.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

Quietly endure, silently suffer and patiently wait.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am what I am because of who we all are.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.

May I stress the need for courageous, intelligent, and dedicated leadership... Leaders of sound integrity. Leaders not in love with publicity, but in love with justice. Leaders not in love with money, but in love with humanity. Leaders who can subject their particular egos to the greatness of the cause.

―> Martin Luther King, Jr.


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