Top 116 Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes

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


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


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


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


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


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.


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?


Quietly endure, silently suffer and patiently wait.


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.


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.


Like anybody, I would like to have a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will.


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


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


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.


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


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 little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.


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


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.


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


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.


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


It does not matter how long you live, but how well you do it.


And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.


What affects one in a major way, affects all in a minor way.


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


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.


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


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.


There is nothing more majestic than the determined courage of individuals willing to suffer and sacrifice for their freedom and dignity.


In some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.


A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right.


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.


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


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


I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.


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.


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


We must use time creatively – and forever realize that the time is always hope to do great things.


A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.


Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.


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


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


Mother Dear, one day I’m going to turn this world upside down.”–From My Brother Martin, by Christine King Farris


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


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


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


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.


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


Three hundred years of humiliation, abuse and deprivation cannot be expected to find voice in a whisper.


All too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained-glass windows


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. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.


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


Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.


We must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.


What is more tragic than to see a person who has risen to the disciplined heights of tough-mindedness but has at the same time sunk to the passionless depths of hard-heartedness?


Nonviolence is power, but it is the right and good use of power.


We can all get more together than we can apart. And this is the way we gain power. Power is the ability to achieve purpose, power is the ability to effect change, and we need power.


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


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.


The question is not if 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 salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.


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


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.


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


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


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


we shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will. And we shall continue to love you.


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


[If] a man doesn’t have a job or an income, he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness. He merely exists.


One cannot worship the false god of nationalism and the God of Christianity at the same time. .


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


Through violence you may murder the hater, but you cannot murder hate.


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


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


I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed, without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today – my own government.


No one can pretend that because a people may be oppressed, every individual member is virtuous and worthy.


[Nonviolence] is directed against forces of evil rather than against persons who happen to be doing the evil. It is evil that the nonviolent resister seeks to defeat, not the persons victimized by evil.


The non-violent resistor not only avoids external, physical violence, but he avoids internal violence of spirit. He not only refuses to shoot his opponent, but he refuses to hate him. And he stands with understanding, goodwill at all times.


Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice.


Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. Anyone who lives inside the US can never be considered an outsider anywhere in the country


We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.


Only God is able. It is faith in Him that we must rediscover. With this faith we can transform bleak and desolate valleys into sunlit paths of joy and bring new light into the dark caverns of pessimism.


One of these days I’m going to put my body where my mind is.


We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free market capitalism for the poor.


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.


My call to the ministry was not a miraculous or supernatural something. On the contrary it was an inner urge calling me to serve humanity.


God is able to give you the power to endure that which cannot be changed… Why be anxious? Come what may, God is able.


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


I always contended that we as a race must not seek to rise from a position of disadvantage to one of advantage, but to create a moral balance in society where democracy and brotherhood would be reality for all men.


We did not hesitate to call our movement an army. But it was a special army, with no supplies but its sincerity, no uniform but its determination, no arsenal except its faith, no currency but its conscience.


We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface hidden tension that is already alive


When religion becomes so involved in a future good “over yonder” that it forgets the present evils over here it is as dry as dust religion and needs to be condemned.


A social movement that only moves people is merely a revolt. A movement that changes both people and institutions is a revolution.


This Revolution is genuine because it was born from the same womb that always gives birth to massive social upheavals – the womb of intolerable conditions and unendurable situations.


It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.


We all came in on different ships, but we’re all in the same boat now


In the end, what will hurt us the most is not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.


[I] know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind’s problems….


As a young man with most of my life ahead of me, I decided early to give my life to something eternal and absolute. Not to these little gods that are here today and gone tomorrow. But to God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.


The Cross is the eternal expression of the length to which God will go to in order to restore broken community.


Only a “dry as dust” religion prompts a minister to extol the glories of Heaven while ignoring the social conditions that cause men an Earthly hell.


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


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.


We are faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words ‘Too Late’.


There can be no deep disappointment where there in not deep love.


If a man hasn’t found something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.


Our only hope lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism


It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tired into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.


Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.


The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win, and their participants know it.


Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.


There comes a time when people get tired of being trampled over by the iron feet of oppression.


We should never forget that everything Adolph Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighers did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany.


The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.


One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.



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