225 Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes About Life, Love & Success


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Last updated on June 4th, 2024

 

Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes About Character, Dream, Equality, Life, Love & Kindness

 

“As long as there is poverty in the world, nobody can be totally rich because our destinies are tied together. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. And what affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.”

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Keep Moving From This Mountain, 1965)

Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes

Authentic Martin Luther King Quotes About Courage, Dream, Equality, Life, Love & Success: Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968) was an American Christian minister, activist, and political philosopher who was one of the most prominent leaders in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance.

King was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia (USA). He is remembered for his contributions to the American civil rights movement and his masterful oratorical skills, most memorably in his “I Have a Dream” speech. King was the leader of the entire civil rights movement in the 1960s that called for working out conflicts with kindness and love as opposed to hate and violence.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is regarded today as one of the most significant leaders in world history. Although he is widely regarded as one of the most important civil rights leaders in U.S. history, Dr. King began to speak out on other pressing global issues following his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

As a follower of Jesus, he adhered to nonviolence and a vision of “the beloved community.” Hundreds of streets in the U.S. have been renamed in his honor. These authentic Martin Luther King Jr. quotes have been taken from his various sermons, and speeches delivered from time to time in his lifetime.

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Find your sense of importance in something outside of the self. And you are then able to live because you have given your life to something outside and something that is meaningful and objectified. You rise above this self-absorption to something outside. This is the way to go through life with a balance, with the proper perspective because you’ve given yourself to something greater than self. Sometimes it’s friends, sometimes it’s family, sometimes it’s a great cause, it’s a great loyalty, but give yourself to that something, and life becomes meaningful.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Conquering Self-centeredness, 1957)

You are what you are because of somebody else. You are what you are because of the grace of the Almighty God. He who seeks to find his ego will lose it. But he who loses his ego in some great cause, some great purpose, some great ideal, some great loyalty, finds himself.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Conquering Self-centeredness, 1957)

The rich must not ignore the poor because both rich and poor are tied in a single garment of destiny. All life is interrelated, and all men are interdependent. The agony of the poor diminishes the rich, and the salvation of the poor enlarges the rich.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Quest for Peace and Justice, 1964)

Communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Where Do We Go from Here, 1967)

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. (Address on Courage, 1965)

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. (Attributed)

Find some great cause and some great purpose, some loyalty to which you can give yourself and become so absorbed in that something that you give your life to it.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Conquering Self-centeredness, 1957)

There is scarcely anything more tragic in human life than a child who is not wanted. That which should be a blessing becomes a curse for parent and child.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Family Planning, 1966)

God never intended for one group of people to live in superfluous, inordinate wealth, while others live in abject, deadening poverty.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Keep Moving from this Mountain, 1960)

Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Beyond Vietnam, 1967)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Speech:1968)

We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963)

There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Beyond Vietnam, 1967)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Conquering Self-centeredness, 1957)

If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Cobo Center speech, 1963)

No individual can live alone; no nation can live alone. We are tied together.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution, 1965)

Time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution, 1965)

No one should rejoice at the death or defeat of a human being.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Strength to Love, 1963)

The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life, is what is important.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Attributed)

Dark yesterday can be transformed into bright tomorrow.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Discerning the Signs of History, 1964)

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Top Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes About Compassion And Love

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. 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. (Loving Your Enemies, 1957)

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. (Where Do We Go from Here, 1967)

Love is basic for the very survival of mankind. Love is the only absolute ultimately; love is the highest good. He who loves has somehow discovered the meaning of ultimate reality. Love is the supreme unifying principle of life.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Keep Moving From This Mountain, 1965)

Why we should love our enemies… because Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. We never get rid of an enemy by meeting hate with hate; we get rid of an enemy by getting rid of enmity.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, Christmas 1957)

And when you rise to love on a superior level, you begin to love men, not because they are likable, but because God loves them. You look at every man, and you love him because you know God loves him.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, November 1957)

If you hate your enemies, you have no way to redeem and transform your enemies. But if you love your enemies, you will discover that at the very root of love is the power of redemption.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, November 1957)

Love is the only force on earth that can be dispensed or received in an extreme manner, without any qualifications, without any harm to the giver or to the receiver.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Interview in Playboy, January 1965)

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. (Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, 1964)

Love is the most durable power in the world. This creative force … is the most potent instrument available in mankind’s quest for peace and security.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, Christmas 1957)

By its very nature, hate destroys and tears down; by its very nature, love creates and builds up. Love transforms with redemptive power.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, Christmas 1957)

How to love your enemy?… When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time when you must not do it.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, November 1957)

We must discover the power of love because Love is the only way to make men better, to transform this old world into a new world.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, November 1957)

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

– Martin Luther King, Jr. (Strength to Love, 1963)

We must meet hate with love. We must meet physical force with soul force… We must follow nonviolence and love.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Give Us the Ballot, 1957)

We must love our white brothers, no matter what they do to us. We must let them know that we love them.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Stride Toward Freedom, 1958)

Love is understanding, redemptive goodwill for all men so that you love everybody because God loves them.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, November 1957)

If you keep loving your enemies, by the power of your love they will break down under the load.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, November 1957)

Without love, benevolence becomes egotism, and martyrdom becomes spiritual pride.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Where Do We Go from Here, 1967)

Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Beyond Vietnam, 1967)

Love even for enemies is the key to the solution of the problems of our world.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, Christmas 1957)

It is love that will save our world and our civilization, love even for enemies.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, November 1957)

There can be no deep disappointment where there is no deep love.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963)

Love is something much deeper than emotional bosh.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, Christmas 1957)

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Best Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes on Freedom And Humanity

No matter where you stand, no matter how much popularity you have, no matter how much education you have, no matter how much money you have, you have it because somebody in this universe helped you to get it. And when you see that, you can’t be arrogant, you can’t be supercilious. You discover that you have your position because of the events of history and because of individuals in the background making it possible for you to stand there.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Conquering Self-centeredness, 1957)

We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. One day we shall win freedom but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process and our victory will be a double victory.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, Christmas 1957)

Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Measures of Man, 1959)

The absence of freedom is the presence of death. Any nation or government that deprives an individual of freedom is in that moment committing an act of moral and spiritual murder. Any individual who is not concerned about his freedom commits an act of moral and spiritual suicide.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (15th Annual NAACP Convention, 1959)

We must work with determination to create a society, not where black men are superior and other men are inferior and vice versa, but a society in which all men will live together as brothers and respect the dignity and worth of human personality.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Give Us the Ballot, 1957)

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. (The Drum Major Instinct, 1968)

God is interested in the freedom of the whole human race and the creation of a society where all men will live together as brothers and where every man will respect the dignity and the worth of human personality.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Address to Cornell College, 1962)

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.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Nobel Prize acceptance speech, 1964)

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. (Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution, 1965)

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. (Conquering Self-centeredness, 1957)

The price that America must pay for the continued oppression of the Negro and other minority groups is the price of its own destruction.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (SCLC Board, 30/3/1967)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Beyond Vietnam, 1967)

Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (New York City, 4/4/1967)

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. (Nobel Prize acceptance speech, 1964)

Freedom only comes through persistent revolt, through persistent agitation, through persistently rising against the system of evil.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Birth of a New Nation, 1957)

Psychological freedom, a firm sense of self-esteem, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Where Do We Go from Here, 1967)

We need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice – not in love with publicity but in love with humanity.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Birth of A New Age, 1956)

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963)

The ultimate weakness of Communism is that it robs man of that quality which makes him man.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Strength to Love, 1963)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963)

If America is to remain a first-class nation, it cannot have second-class citizens.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Rising Tide of Racial Consciousness, 1960)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (I Have a Dream, 1963)

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Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes About Equality And Justice

All men are made in the image of God. All men are brothers. All men are created equal. Every man is an heir to a legacy of dignity and worth. Every man has rights that are neither conferred by nor derived from the State — they are God-given. Out of one blood, God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth. What a marvelous foundation for any home!

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam, 1967)

An individual who breaks a law that his 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.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963)

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 Birmingham, 1963)

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. (Letter From A Birmingham Jail, 1963)

Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Youth March for Integrated Schools, 18/4/1959)

It is possible to stand up against an unjust system with all of your might, with all of your body, with all of your soul, and yet not stoop to hatred and violence.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution, 1965)

Each of us must keep faith in the future. Let us not despair. Let us realize that as we struggle for justice and freedom, we have cosmic companionship.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Give Us the Ballot, 1957)

A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam, 1967)

*One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963)

There is another side called justice. And justice is really love in calculation. Justice is love correcting that which revolts against love.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Montgomery Bus Boycott speech, 1955)

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. (Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963)

It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Address to Cornell College, 1962)

In the struggle for human rights and justice, Negros will make a mistake if they become bitter and indulge in hate campaigns.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Speech in Finney Chapel at Oberlin College, 1957)

One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963)

Give us the ballot, and we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Birth of a New Nation, 1957)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (NCMCHR, Chicago, 25/3/1966)

This is a law-abiding universe. This is a moral universe. It hinges on moral foundations.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Rediscovering Lost Values, 1954)

And now we are reaching out for the daybreak of freedom, justice, and equality.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Montgomery Bus Boycott speech, 1955)

Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Southern Christian Leadership Conference, 1967)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (I Have a Dream, 1963)

No person has the right to rain on your dreams.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (I Have A Dream, 1963)

Justice too long delayed is justice denied

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963)

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Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes About Character And Courage

Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles. Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances. Courage breeds creativity; Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it. 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 political, nor popular, but one must take it because conscience tells him it is right.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches)

People who are self-centered cannot face disappointments. These are the people who cannot face being defeated. These are the people who cannot face being criticized. These are the people who cannot face these many experiences of life which inevitably come because they are too centered in themselves.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Conquering Self-centeredness, 1957)

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 ones we inflict on our souls when we look the other way.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (I’ve Been to the Mountaintop, 1968)

Life has its beginning and its maturity comes into being when an individual rises above self to something greater. Few individuals learn this, and so they go through life merely existing and never living.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Conquering Self-centeredness, 1957)

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. (I Have A Dream, 1963)

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. (Strength to Love, 1963)

Don’t boast, don’t be arrogant. You, at that moment, rise out of your self-centeredness to the type of living that makes you an integrated personality.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Conquering Self-centeredness, 1957)

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. (I Have A Dream, 1963)

Human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability but comes through the continuous struggle of men.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963)

If you can’t fly – run. If you can’t run – walk. If you can’t walk – crawl. But by all means, keep moving.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Keep Moving from this Mountain, 1960)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Strength to Love, 1963)

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Mother Jones Magazine May-Jun 1991. Vol. 16)

One of the sure signs of maturity is the ability to rise to the point of self-criticism.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Rising Tide of Racial Consciousness, 1960)

It is better to suffer in dignity than to accept segregation in humiliation.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Quest for Peace and Justice, 1964)

We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Mastery of Fear or Antidotes for Fear)

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Strength to Love, 1963)

Man must look beyond himself to discover his significance.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Conquering Self-centeredness, 1957)

Courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Mastery of Fear or Antidotes for Fear)

We must substitute courage for caution.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK Autobiography, Death of Illusions)

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Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes on Success, Labor And Progress

Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (King’s statement after a party in Belafonte’s Apartment, New York, 27/3/1968)

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists, who are dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood. The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific, and religious freedom have always been nonconformists. In any cause that concerns the progress of mankind, put your faith in the nonconformist!

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Strength to Love, 1963)

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as 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. (Facing the Challenge of a New Age, June 1965)

Where progress for the Negro in America is concerned, there is a tragic misconception of time among whites. They seem to cherish a strange, irrational notion that something in the very flow of time will cure all ills.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963)

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. (The Future of Integration, 10/2/1961)

Human progress comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals who are willing to be co-workers with God.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Address to Cornell College, 1962)

Every person must decide at some point, whether they will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Coretta Scott King)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (All Labor Has Dignity, 18/3/1968)

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. (Facing the Challenge of a New Age, 03/12/1956)

Whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity and it has worth.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (All Labor Has Dignity, 18/3/1968)

All progress is precarious, and the solution to one problem brings us face-to-face with another problem.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Strength to Love, 1963)

The supreme task is to organize and unite people so that their anger becomes a transforming force.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Speech at Carnegie Hall, 1968)

Keep moving. Let nothing slow you up. Move on with dignity, honor, and respectability.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Give Us the Ballot, 1957)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Episcopal National Cathedral, Washington D.C., 1968)

Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Beyond Vietnam, 1967)

The best way to solve any problem is to remove the cause.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Rising Tide of Racial Consciousness, 1960)

Quietly endure, silently suffer, and patiently wait.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Why We Can’t Wait)

A man cannot ride your back unless it is bent.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Where Do We Go from Here, 1967)

The time is always right to do what’s right.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Future of Integration, 1964)

There is no gain without struggle.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Attributed)

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Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes About God, Faith And Forgiveness

But a religion true to its nature must also be concerned about man’s social conditions. Religion deals with both earth and heaven, both time and eternity. Religion operates not only on the vertical plane but also on the horizontal. It seeks not only to integrate men with God but to integrate men with men and each man with himself.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Stride Toward Freedom, 1958)

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. They are complementary.

– Martin Luther King, Jr. (Strength to Love, 1963)

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.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (I Have Been To The Mountaintop, 1968)

We are not just at the center of this universe. We are only at the center to the extent that we give ourselves and our allegiance to God Almighty.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Conquering Self-centeredness, 1957)

I cannot express what I felt, but I knew at that moment that God’s presence had never left me, that He had been with me there in solitary.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Interview in Playboy, 1965)

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.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, Christmas 1957)

God has made the universe to be based on a moral law. So long as man disobeys it he is revolting against God.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Rediscovering Lost Values, 1954)

The degree to which we are able to forgive determines the degree to which we are able to love our enemies.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, Christmas 1957)

We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Beyond Vietnam, 1967)

Christianity insists that man is an end because he is a child of God, made in God’s image.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Strength to Love, 1963)

The greatness of our God lies in the fact that He is both tough-minded and tenderhearted.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Strength to Love, 1963)

Every genuine expression of love grows out of a consistent and total surrender to God.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, Christmas 1957)

The darkness of racial injustice will be dispelled only by the light of forgiving love.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, Christmas 1957)

It is cheerful to God when you rejoice or laugh from the bottom of your heart.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Attributed)

He who hates does not know God; he who hates has no knowledge of God.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Keep Moving From This Mountain, 1965)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, 1957)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (A Speech in New York City, 12/11/1962)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (A Sermon in Atlanta: Love in Action)

Jesus is not an impractical idealist; he is a practical realist.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, Christmas 1957)

The church, itself, will stand under the judgment of God.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Social Justice & Emerging New Age, 1963)

Whatever we do, we must keep God in the forefront.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Montgomery Bus Boycott speech, 1955)

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Famous Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes About Hate And Racism

If I hit you and you hit me and I hit you back and you hit me back and go on, you see, that goes on ad infinitum. It just never ends. Somebody must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and the chain of evil in the universe. And you do that by love.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, November 1957)

The reality of substantial investment to assist Negroes into the twentieth century, adjusting to Negro neighbors and genuine school integration, is still a nightmare for all too many white Americans…These are the deepest causes for contemporary abrasions between the races.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Where Do We Go from Here, 1967)

For the person who hates, the beautiful becomes ugly and the ugly becomes beautiful. For the person who hates, the good becomes bad and the bad becomes good. For the person who hates, the true becomes false and the false becomes true. That’s what hate does.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, November 1957)

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.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Stride Toward Freedom, 1958)

Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Where Do We Go from Here, 1967)

So, the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963)

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.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Where Do We Go from Here, 1967)

Hate at any point is a cancer that gnaws away at the very vital center of your life and your existence. It is like eroding acid that eats away the best and the objective center of your life.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, November 1957)

Hate is just as injurious to the person who hates. 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.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, Christmas 1957)

Discover the element of good in your enemy. And as you seek to hate him, find the center of goodness and place your attention there and you will take a new attitude.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, November 1957)

We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism are all tied together. And you can’t get rid of one without getting rid of the other.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam, 1967)

Force begets force, hate begets hate, toughness begets toughness. And it is all a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all and everybody.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, November 1957)

Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, Christmas 1957)

Why you should love your enemies – because hate destroys the personality of the hater.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, November 1957)

Men must see that force begets force, hate begets hate, and toughness begets toughness.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, November 1957)

The strong person is the person who can cut off the chain of hate, the chain of evil.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, November 1957)

The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and the evils of racism.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Myth of American Diplomacy, 1968)

Hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, November 1957)

Love is the only absolute. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The American Dream, 1965)

Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Christian Century, 05/5/1957)

Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (A Knock at Midnight)

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Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes on Hope, Kindness & Non-violence

Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away, and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not-too-distant tomorrow, the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963)

Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys the community and makes brotherhood impossible. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Three Ways of Meeting Oppression, 1958)

And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Other America, 1967)

If you have weapons, take them home; if you do not have them, please do not seek to get them. We cannot solve this problem through retaliatory violence. We must meet violence with nonviolence.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Stride Toward Freedom, 1958)

Non-violence is the absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not 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. (My Pilgrimage to Nonviolence)

Nonviolent action, the Negro saw, was the way to supplement, not replace, the progress of change. It was the way to divest himself of passivity without arraying himself in vindictive force.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Attributed)

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. (Attributed)

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. (Stride Toward Freedom, 1958)

Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Quest for Peace and Justice, 1964)

We who 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. (Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963)

It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it’s nonviolence or nonexistence.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (I’ve Been to the Mountaintop, 1968)

We must not seek to defeat or humiliate the enemy but to win his friendship and understanding.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, Christmas 1957)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Beyond Vietnam, 1967)

The only weapon that we have in our hands this evening is the weapon of protest.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Montgomery Bus Boycott speech, 1955)

There is nothing wrong with power if power is used correctly.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Where Do We Go from Here, 1967)

Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Interview in Playboy, January 1965)

At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Loving Your Enemies, November 1957)

Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (I Have A Dream, 1963)

There comes a time when silence is betrayal.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam, 1967)

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Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes on Peace, Truth & Knowledge

We will not build a peaceful world by following a negative path. It is not enough to say, ‘We must not wage war.’ It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but on the positive affirmation of peace.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Quest for Peace and Justice, 1964)

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. (Strength to Love, 1963)

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. (The Purpose of Education)

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. (Loving Your Enemies, November 1957)

In the eyes of truly noble people, the beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds, or silver, or gold.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Nobel Prize acceptance speech, 1964)

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. (How Long, Not Long, 1965)

Nobody is unhappy when they are praised, even if they know they don’t deserve it and even if they don’t believe it.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Drum Major Instinct, 1968)

He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery. Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam, 1967)

Peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody that is far superior to the discords of war.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Quest for Peace and Justice, 1964)

Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek but a means by which we arrive at that goal.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (The Quest for Peace and Justice, 1964)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Strength to Love, 1963)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Chicago Speech: Against the War in Viet Nam, 1967)

True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Stride Toward Freedom, 1958)

In every age and every generation, men have envisioned a promised land.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Keep Moving From This Mountain, 1965)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Address on Courage, 1965)

As long as the mind is enslaved, the body can never be free.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Where Do We Go from Here, 1967)

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

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Strength to Love, 1963)

Only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (I Have Been To The Mountaintop, 1968)

Our feet are tired, but our souls are rested.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (How Long, Not Long, 1965)

Lightning makes no sound until it strikes.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Why We Can’t Wait)

Seeing is not always believing.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (Attributed)

No lie can live forever.

– Martin Luther King Jr. (How Long, Not Long, 1965)

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Famous Fake Quotes Misattributed To Martin Luther King Jr.

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 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.

– Jessica Dovey (1st Sent.), Misattributed to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.

– Martin Luther (Protestant Reformation leader), Misattributed to MLK

To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.

– George Sweeting (Talking it Over, 1979), Misattributed to MLK

Justice runs down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.

– The Bible (Amos 5:24), Misattributed to MLK

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

– Napoleon Hill (The Law of Success in 16 Lessons, 1928),
Misattributed to Martin Luther King, Jr.

That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind.

– Misattributed to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.

– Martin Luther, Misattributed to MLK

Peace and justice are goals for man.

– Mahatma Gandhi, Misattributed to MLK

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Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., never backed down in his stand against racism. He fought for justice through peaceful protest—and delivered some of the 20th century’s most iconic speeches. King was assassinated in 1968, but his words and legacy continue to resonate for all those seeking justice in the United States and around the world.

“Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”

– Martin Luther King Jr. (March for Integrated Schools, 18/4/1959)


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