Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most celebrated civil rights activists in history. He is best known for his speeches and quotes that encouraged peace and equality. His words have inspired people all over the world and continue to do so today. In this article, we will take a look at some of his best quotes and explore what they mean for us today.
About Martin Luther King Jr
Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most influential civil rights leaders of the twentieth century. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1929, King was a gifted student and preacher. He became involved in the civil rights movement after witnessing the racial discrimination that African Americans faced on a daily basis.
In 1955, he helped to organize the Bus Boycott, a successful protest against segregation in public transportation. The following year, he co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization that would play a key role in the struggle for racial equality.
In 1963, King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington, which helped to bring national attention to the civil rights movement. In 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in promoting nonviolent change.
On April 4, 1968, he was assassinated by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee. Despite his untimely death, King’s legacy continues to inspire people around the world who are working for social justice.
Here are the best Martin Luther King Jr Quotes
King disagreed with the Vietnam War because it drew away from funds that could have gone to social programs domestically. With an increase in the military budget and a decrease in anti-poverty program spending, King saw this as a clear injustice. Let’s take a look at what he had to say about injustice and public welfare, and equality:
1. “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a powerful voice for change during the Civil Rights Movement. In his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, he spoke about the importance of coming together to create a more just and equal society. The quote speaks to the idea that our past shapes who we are.
We cannot create our future without first understanding our past. King recognized that change is only possible when we learn from our history and use that knowledge to build a better future. Only by working together can we create a world that is more just and equitable for all. King’s vision is as relevant today as it was when he first spoke these words over fifty years ago.
2. “There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breadth.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
3. “We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
4. “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
5. “Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
6. “A lie cannot live.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
7. “The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
8. “He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
9. “There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
10. “It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
11. “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
It is easy to fall into the trap of anger and resentment, especially when we have been wronged. However, holding onto these negative emotions only serves to drag us down. Instead, we should strive to rise above hate and focus on our own happiness.
After all, life is too short to waste time on bitterness and revenge. Instead, let us choose love and compassion, and always remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”
12. “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
13. “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
14. “We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
15. “Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
16. “Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
17. “Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
18. “We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the positive affirmation of peace.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
19. “A riot is the language of the unheard.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
20. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
21. “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
It is easy to be ignorant when you don’t want to know the truth. It is even easier to be ignorant when you are afraid of what the truth might mean. But it takes a special kind of person to be deliberately ignorant, someone who knows the truth and chooses to ignore it.
That is the most dangerous kind of person because they have the power to change things but choose instead to perpetuate the status quo. We need more people in the world who are willing to fight for what is right.
22. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
23. “Ten thousand fools proclaim themselves into obscurity, while one wise man forgets himself into immortality.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
24. “When you are right, you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
25. “That old law about ‘an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
26. “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
27. “We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
28. “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.
29. “Almost always, the creative, dedicated minority has made the world better.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
30. “We cannot walk alone.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
31. “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.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote speaks to the importance of having power that is both morally right and good. In other words, it is not enough to simply have power – that power must be used for positive change. This is something that King himself strived for throughout his lifetime. He was a Civil Rights leader who fought for racial equality and an end to segregation.
His dream was that one day people would “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” His work helped to bring about major changes in American society, and he is remembered as one of the most influential figures in history. King’s words continue to inspire people today to use their power for good, and his legacy will continue to live on.
32. “We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
33. “Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice, and when they fail in this purpose, they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
34. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
35. “Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
36. “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.
37. “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.
38. “What is wrong in the world today is that the nations of the world are engaged in a bitter, colossal contest for supremacy.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
39. “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.
40. “A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
41. “The more there are riots, the more repressive action will take place, and the more we face the danger of a right-wing takeover and eventually a fascist society.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
The quote by Martin Luther King Jr. is often used to explain the relationship between riots and the government. When there are riots, the government usually becomes more repressive in an attempt to control the situation. However, this can often have the opposite effect, as seen when the right wing took over following the riots in France in 2005.
The more the government tries to control riots, the more they fuel the fire of anger and frustration that leads to riots in the first place. In a way, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy and one that can only be broken by open communication and understanding. Only by listening to what people are saying during a riot can the government hope to diffuse the situation without resorting to violence.
42. “No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
43. “The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
44. “The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
45. “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.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
46. “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
47. “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
48. “The principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
49. “We who in engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
50. “Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
51. “At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
The quote by Martin Luther King Jr. speaks to the idea that non-violence is not only about avoiding physical violence but also about living with love and compassion. This is because, at its core, non-violence is about respecting the dignity and worth of every human being.
When we act with violence, we are treating others as if they are disposable and do not deserve our respect. However, when we choose non-violence, we are affirming the inherent value of every person. We are saying that we will never give up on them, no matter how difficult things might get. In short, non-violence is an act of love. And it is this love that can change the world.
52. “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.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
53. “I want to be the white man’s brother, not his brother-in-law.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
54. “Seeing is not always believing.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
55. “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.
56. “Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being. It is part of the earth man walks on. It is not man.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
57. “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
58. “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.
59. “Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
60. “The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win, and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
61. “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.
King was a man who fought for what he believed in, even when the odds were against him. He knew that love and truth were more powerful than hate and lies, and he was willing to risk everything for his convictions. As a result, he inspired a generation of Americans to stand up for their beliefs, even in the face of adversity.
In a world that still struggles with racism and inequality, King’s words continue to resonate. His dream of an America where people are judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character is still yet to be fully realized. But as long as there are people who are willing to fight for what is right, King’s dream will never die.
62. “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. 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.
63. “Nonviolence is an absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not an emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one’s whole being into the being of another.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
64. “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
65. “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.
66. “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.
67. “You will change your mind; You will change your looks; You will change your smile, laugh, and ways, but no matter what you change, you will always be you.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
68. “The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a greater one.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
69. “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.
70. “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.
71. “Not everybody can be famous, but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service… You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
We all have the potential to be great. No, we may not all be famous like Martin Luther King Jr., but that doesn’t mean we can’t make a difference in our own way. As MLK Jr. said, greatness is determined by service.
It’s not about how many likes we get on our latest post or how much money we make. It’s about how much we’re willing to give of ourselves to help others. All it takes is a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love, and we can change the world.
72. “The soft-minded man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo, and he has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest pain is the pain of a new idea.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
73. “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.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
Let’s Wind Up…
Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most influential people of our time. His words and actions have inspired people for generations. We hope you enjoyed these quotes from this incredible man. If you have any suggestions for quotes or other information about MLK, please let us know.