Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15th, 1929. He was an American Christian minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.
After graduating college with a doctorate degree in theology, King became a pastor in Alabama. He started with peaceful protests, which eventually changed many laws dealing with the equality of African Americans, and became one of history’s most transformative and inspirational figures.
He was committed to the cause of equality for African Americans and gave speeches that moved many people.
In 1964, Martin Luther King Jr.as awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role for greater racial equality through nonviolent civil disobedience.
On April 4th, 1968, Dr. King was shot and killed while in Memphis, Tennessee. After his death, King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
Here, on this page, you will find some of the most inspiring Martin Luther King Jr. quotes.
Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes
“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.”
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
“Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself.”
“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.”
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“True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”
“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
“Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness .”
“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.”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
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“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”
“That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind.”
“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”
“If we are not careful, our colleges will produce a group of close-minded, unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts. Be careful, ‘brethren!’ Be careful, teachers!”
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“We must use time creatively.”
“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.”
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”
“Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.”
“If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t walk run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but by all means keep moving.”
“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
“We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now.”
“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”
“The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”
“We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.”
“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.”
This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”
“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
“The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.”
“Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
“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.”
“He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”
“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.”
“We must substitute courage for caution.”
“The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.”
“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.”
“A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.”
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
“We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the positive affirmation of peace.”
“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
“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.”
“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
“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. Quotes
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