Martin Luther King Jr Quotes
Love is the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.
Make a career of humanity... It will enrich your spirit as nothing else possibly can. It will give you that rare sense of nobility that can only spring from love and selflessly helping your fellow man... You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.
Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. To return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe.
Someone must have sense enough and religion enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love.
Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship. Forgiveness is a catalyst creating the atmosphere necessary for a fresh start and a new beginning.
Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away, and that in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.
Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them.
To be a Negro in America is to hope against hope.
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.
In the struggle for human rights and justice, Negros will make a mistake if they become bitter and indulge in hate campaigns.
I always had a deep affection for Malcolm and felt that he had a great ability to put his finger on the existence and the root of the problem. He was an eloquent spokesman for his point of view and no one can honestly doubt that Malcolm had a great concern for the problems we face as a race.
In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as 'right-to-work.' It provides no 'rights' and no 'works.' Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining... We demand this fraud be stopped.
We have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifices. Capitalism was built on the exploitation of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor, both black and white, both here and abroad.
The problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated.
Commit yourself to the noble struggle for human rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country and a finer world to live in.
The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.
I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will.
Darkness cannot be overcome with more darkness, only with light. Violence cannot be overcome with more violence, only with peace.
I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate, adding deeper darkness to a night that is already void of stars.
We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: 'Too late'.
Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity.
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.
A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.
Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
There is little hope for us until we become tough-minded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half-truths, and downright ignorance. The shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of soft mindedness.
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.
Stumbling and groping through the wilderness finally must be replaced by a planned, organized and orderly march.
The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.
If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.
Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert.
Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue.
Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.
Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.
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.
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.
One of the greatest casualties of the war in Vietnam is the Great Society... shot down on the battlefield of Vietnam.
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
In spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace.
At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.
Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.
We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.
We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. This may well be mankind's last chance to choose between chaos and community.
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.
There is something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press that would praise you when you say, 'Be nonviolent toward Jim Clark,' but will curse and damn you when you say, 'Be nonviolent toward little brown Vietnamese children.' There is something wrong with that press.
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.
We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the positive affirmation of peace.
Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.
The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.
Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves.
For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.
Gandhi was inevitable. If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. He lived, thought and acted, inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward a world of peace and harmony.
I firmly believe that the Gandhian philosophy of nonviolent resistance is the only logical and moral approach to the solution of the race problem in the United States.
Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.
Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence.
It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.
Peace is not simply the absence of conflict, but the existence of justice for all people.
To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it.
It's not the violence of the few that scares me, it's the silence of the many.
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.
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 adopt the means of nonviolence because our end is a community at peace with itself. We will try to persuade with our words, but if our words fail, we will try to persuade with our acts.
The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.
The silence of the good people is more dangerous than the brutaliy of the bad people.
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.
We must learn that passively to accept an unjust system is to cooperate with that system, and thereby to become a participant in its evil.
We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.
There comes a time when silence is betrayal.
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.
When I am angry I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understanding sharpened, and all mundane vexations and temptations depart.
Lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering than outright rejection.
Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.
We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.
Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.
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.
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.
Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.
A productive and happy life is not something you find; it is something you make.
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.
The best way to solve any problem is to remove its cause.
Capitalism is always in danger of inspiring men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life. 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 humanity-thus capitalism can lead to a practical materialism that is as pernicious as the materialism taught by communism.
The difference between a dreamer and a visionary is that a dreamer has his eyes closed and a visionary has his eyes open.
One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying.
A social movement that only moves people is merely a revolt. A movement that changes both people and institutions is a revolution.
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.
You can have no influence over those for whom you have underlying contempt.
Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.
We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.
It is hardly a moral act to encourage others patiently to accept injustice which he himself does not endure.
Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.
Courageous men never lose the zest for living even though their life situation is zestless; cowardly men, overwhelmed by the uncertainties of life, lose the will to live.
I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live.
All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.
Freedom has always been an expensive thing. History is fit testimony to the fact that freedom is rarely gained without sacrifice and self-denial.
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.
Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.
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.
Courage faces fear and thereby masters it.
Our children need our presence, not our presents.
It's not burn baby burn, but learn, baby, learn, so that you can earn, baby, earn.
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.
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.
We must remember that intelligence is not enough. [...] The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate.
The group consisting of mother, father and child is the main educational agency of mankind.
The curse of poverty has no justification in our age.
Voting is the foundation stone for political action.
I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.
The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.
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.
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies.
On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act.
True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
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.
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.
One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway.
There are two types of laws: there are just laws and there are unjust laws... What is the difference between the two?...An unjust law is a man-made code that is out of harmony with the moral law.
Now everyone knows that the labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising the living standards of millions, labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them.
One who breaks an unjust 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 law.
The time has come for an all-out world war against poverty. The rich nations must use their vast resources of wealth to develop the underdeveloped, school the unschooled, and feed the unfed. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation.
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
In a real sense faith is total surrender to God.
To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.
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.
Evil can be cast out, not by man alone nor by a dictatorial God who invades our lives, but when we open the door and invite God through Christ to enter.
Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.
When our days become dreary with low hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.
If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values - that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.
If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life 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.
When people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.
So I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!
At times, life is hard, as hard as crucible steel. It has its bleak and painful moments. Like the ever flowing water of a river, life has its moments of drought and its moments of flood.
Like the ever-changin cycle of the seasons, life has the soothing warmth of the summers and the piercing chill of its winters.
But through it all, God walks with us. Never forget that God is able to lift you from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope, and transform dark and desolate valleys into sunlit paths of inner peace.
This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.
My faith in man is, at bottom, a faith in God.
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.
In some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.
This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men.
This often misunderstood and misinterpreted concept has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man.
When I speak of love, I am speaking of that force which all the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life.
Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose... one of the great problems of history is that the concepts of love and power have usually been contrasted as opposites - polar opposites - so that love is identified with a resignation of power, and power with a denial of love.
There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society with a large segment of people in that society who feel that they have no stake in it; who feel that that have nothing to lose. People who have stake in their society, protect that society, but when they don't have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it.
Whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity and it has worth.
Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.
I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism.
A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.
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.
Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization.
Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service.
The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and evils of racism.
Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.
The Negro needs the white man to free him from his fears. The white man needs the Negro to free him from his guilt.
It is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes; but they are derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of the white society.
The sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.
I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. 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.
Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.
Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.
We stand in life at midnight; we are always at the threshold of a new dawn.
A riot is the language of the unheard.
War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow.
The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.
There is no deficit in human resources; the deficit is in human will.
I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.
I was not afraid of the words of the violent, but of the silence of the honest.
If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.
You can kill the dreamer, but you can't kill the dream.
A man can't ride your back unless it's bent.
When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.
True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.
I want to be the white man's brother, not his brother-in-law.
Darkness is only driven out with light, not more darkness.
Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.
Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.
Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.
Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed; We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.
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.
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.
A right delayed is a right denied.
The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.
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.
We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now.
Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Whatever career you may choose for yourself - doctor, lawyer, teacher - let me propose an avocation to be pursued along with it.
Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts.
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.
We spend 322 000$ for each enemy we kill in Vietnam, while we spend in the so-called war on poverty in America only about 53$ for each person classified as poor.
Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But, conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because one's conscience tells one that it is right.
Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be the first in love. I want you to be the first in moral excellence. I want you to be the first in generosity.
Perhaps the worst sin in life is knowing right and not doing it.
Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty we are free at last.
Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.
Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
Lifes most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?
No person has the right to rain on your dreams.
Find a voice in a whisper.
A lie cannot live.
Seeing is not always believing.
Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever.
Means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.
Without justice, there can be no peace.
We must shift the arms race into a 'peace race'.
Lightning makes no sound until it strikes.
Music is the best consolation for a despaired man.
We must in strength and humility meet hate with love.
Be the peace you wish to see in the world!
We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now.
In a sense, songs are the soul of a movement.
The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.
A dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality.
It is a tragic mix-up when the United States spends $500,000 for every enemy soldier killed, and only $53 annually on the victims of poverty.
What good does it do to sit at the counter when you cannot afford a hamburger?
Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.
I just want to do God's will. And he's allowed me to go to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land! I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.
Pity may represent little more than the impersonal concern which prompts the mailing of a check, but true sympathy is the personal concern which demands the giving of one's soul.
Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.
I subject myself to self-purification and to endless self-analysis; I question and soul-search constantly into myself to be as certain as I can that I am fulfilling the true meaning of my work, that I am maintaining my sense of purpose, that I am holding fast to my ideals, that I am guiding my people in the right direction.
But whatever my doubts, however heavy the burden, I feel that I must accept the task of helping to make this nation and this world a better place to live in - for all men, black and white alike.
The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be... The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.
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.
One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.
A man who won't die for something is not fit to live.
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?
Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.
The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals.
As long as there is poverty in the world I can never be rich, even if I have a billion dollars.
As long as diseases are rampant and millions of people in this world cannot expect to live more than twenty-eight or thirty years, I can never be totally healthy even if I just got a good checkup at Mayo Clinic.
I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way our world is made.
No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent. We are interdependent.
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.
There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breadth.
Unconditional love will have the final word in reality.
The quality, not the longevity, of one's life is what is important.