Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes

Born
January 15, 1929 Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.

Died
April 4, 1968.

Occupation
Minister.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who was a leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights.

The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

A riot is the language of the unheard.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

The sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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

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.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the postive affirmation of peace.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.

I want to be the white man’s brother, not his brother-in-law.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must use time creatively.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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

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.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

One of the greatest casualties of the war in Vietnam is the Great Society… shot down on the battlefield of Vietnam.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

The principle of self defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

We are not makers of history. We are made by history.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

The time is always right to do what is right.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.