Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes




"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

"right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant."

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

"And so I say to you today that I still stand by nonviolence."

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

"Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see."

"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend."

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

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

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it."

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

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

"Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace."

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

"Segregation is the adultery of an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality."

"I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something he will die for, he isn't fit to live."

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

"Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination."

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

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality."

"The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict."

"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."

"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."

"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."

"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."

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

"I'm concerned about justice. I'm concerned about brotherhood. I'm concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about these, he can never advocate violence."

"Through violence you may murder a liar but you can't establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can't murder hate. Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that."

"And I say to you, I have also decided to stick to love. For I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind's problems."

"I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we are moving against wrong when we do it, because John was right, God is love."

"If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo 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 streetsweeper who did his job well."

"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."

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

"I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

"We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."

"nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time - - the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression."

"The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom."

"Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."

"But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence."

"When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

"And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, From every mountainside, let freedom ring! And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true."

"Yet when years have rolled past and when the blazing light of truth is focused on this marvellous age in which we live - men and women will know and children will be taught that we have a finer land, a better people, a more noble civilization - because these humble children of God were willing to suffer for righteousness' sake."

"Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up 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. And 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."

"when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

"I still believe that We Shall overcome!"