Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes and Sayings

These are inspirational, motivational, wise, and funny Martin Luther King Jr. quotes, sayings, and proverbs that inspire us. See more quotes by topic on Quotelicious.

  • Full name: Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Born: January 15, 1929
  • Born in: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
  • Assassinated: April 4, 1968
  • Occupation: American Christian minister and activist
  • Height: 5ft 7in (169 cm)
  • Weight: 118kg (260lbs)
  • Net worth: $250.000

 

The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.

 

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… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

 

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

If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t walk run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but by all means keep moving.

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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

 

A lie cannot live.

 

The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.

 

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 it is right.

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

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.

 

If I wish to compose or write or pray or preach well, I must be angry. Then all the blood in my veins is stirred, and my understanding is sharpened.

 

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

 

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

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

 

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 must substitute courage for caution.

 

History will have to record 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.

The time is always right to do what is right.

 

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

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

 

Any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.

 

That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do what is right.

I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

 

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

 

I want to be the white man’s brother, not his brother-in-law.

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

 

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.

Only in the darkness can you see the stars.

 

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.

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

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

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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.

 

There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breadth.

 

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

 

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?’

 

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.

 

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

 

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.

 

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

 

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.

 

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

 

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

 

Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.

 

One of the greatest casualties of the war in Vietnam is the Great Society… shot down on the battlefield of Vietnam.

 

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

 

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.

 

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 must use time creatively.

 

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.

 

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.

 

Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. I am not unmindful of the fact that violence often brings about momentary results. Nations have frequently won their independence in battle. But in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace.

 

Seeing is not always believing.

 

Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.

 

There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life’s July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November.

 

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

 

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. 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.

 

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

 

I hope you enjoyed our gathered collection of the best Martin Luther King Jr. quotes. Please share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!

What is your favorite one? Would you like to add another one here? Share in the comments!

Leave a Reply