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The Most Powerful Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes Ever

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Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes
Martin Luther King Jr. 

 More than 50 years after his assassination, Dr Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered as an activist, a prominent leader in the civil rights movement, a pioneering historical Black figure, and a wordsmith. 

Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15th, 1929. He was a pivotal advocate for African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement in the USA.

On April 4th, 1968, Dr King was shot and killed while in Memphis, Tennessee. Although his life stopped that day, the work that he had achieved changed society. 

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MLK. will be remembered not only for his commitment to the cause of equality for African Americans but also for his profound speeches that touched so many.

Martin Luther King Jr. quotes

Here is the Most Powerful Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes Ever:

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

― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

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

― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

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

― Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World

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

― Martin Luther King Jr.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”

― 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.

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

― Martin Luther King, Jr.

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

― Martin Luther King Jr., A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend 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., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

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

― 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.

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

― 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 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.

“No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

“A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”

― Martin Luther King Jr., The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

― 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.

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

― 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.

“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love, they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says, love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies. (from “Loving Your Enemies”)”

― Martin Luther King Jr., A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend 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.

“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

“One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

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

― Martin Luther King Jr.

“Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.”

― 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.

“The time is always right to do the right thing”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

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

― Martin Luther King Jr.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”

― 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

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

― Martin Luther King Jr.

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

― Martin Luther King Jr.

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

― MLK., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

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

― Martin Luther King Jr.

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

― 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.

“We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

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

― Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World

“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.

“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.

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

― 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.

“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., Letter from the Birmingham Jail

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

― Martin Luther King Jr.

“Another way that you love your enemy is this: When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it. There will come a time, in many instances, when the person who hates you most, the person who has misused you most, the person who has gossiped about you most, the person who has spread false rumours about you most, there will come a time when you will have an opportunity to defeat that person. It might be in terms of a recommendation for a job; it might be in terms of helping that person to make some move in life. That’s the time you must do it. That is the meaning of love. In the final analysis, love is not this sentimental something that we talk about. It’s not merely an emotional something. Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.”

― 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.

“One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of the status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

“Lightning makes no sound until it strikes.”

― MLK., Why We Can’t-Wait

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

― Martin Luther King Jr.

“An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is, in reality, expressing the highest respect for the law”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

“A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. … A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

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

― 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.

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

― Martin Luther King Jr.

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

― 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.

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there “is” such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”

― 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.

“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

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

― Martin Luther King Jr.

“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

― MLK., Strength to Love

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

― Martin Luther King Jr.

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

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