Memorable Martin Luther King Quotes

200 Martin Luther King quotes and quotations—from a man who served as a beacon of light in the darkness of racial prejudice.

The Martin Luther King Jr. history is the history of determination to stand up for what's right, no matter what the cost...

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Martin Luther King Jr., (1929-1968) peaceful American revolutionary and civil rights leader

Why do Martin Luther King Jr. quotes resonate so strongly in our hearts? Read his life story, and find out...

The Martin Luther King Jr. history began on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. A baby boy named Michael was born into a middle-class family, active for two generations in the civil-rights cause. Five years later, his father changed both their names to Martin, after the German Protestant reformer, Martin Luther.

Young Martin skipped a couple of grades at his segregated public school and entered Morehouse College at 15. A decade of further education earned him a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, a Bachelor of Divinity degree and a doctorate in Philosophy.

Dr. King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama when he was 25, in 1954. When police officers in Montgomery arrested Rosa Parks early in December, 1955, for refusing to surrender her seat on a bus to a white man, Dr. King accepted to lead the ensuing bus boycott to end segregation on the buses—the first great Negro nonviolent demonstration in the United States. (Like Gandhi, Dr. King was influenced by Thoreau's essay, Civil Disobedience.)

During the months of the boycott, Dr. King was arrested; his home, where he lived with his wife and four children, was bombed; he was subjected to personal abuse—and he emerged as a great, charismatic leader.

After 381 days, the Montgomery bus boycott ended when the Supreme Court of the United States declared the laws requiring segregation on buses unconstitutional.

In 1957 Dr. King was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference—an organization formed to provide leadership for the burgeoning civil-rights movement. “Christ furnished the spirit and motivation, while Gandhi furnished the method,” Dr. King said of the nonviolent, direct-action method he championed to “save the soul of America" (the SCLS’s motto).

Ceaseless Effort

In the 11-year period between 1957 and 1968:

  • Dr. King travelled more than six million miles, and spoke publicly more than 2,500 times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest and action
  • He was arrested and jailed upwards of 20 times, and assaulted at least four times—including a near-fatal stabbing in 1958
  • He led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of the entire world, providing what he called a “coalition of conscience”
  • He planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of Negroes as voters, which faced unjust and sometimes brutal white hostility
  • In 1963, Dr. King successfully directed the peaceful March on Washington of 250,000 people, where he delivered his electrifying I Have a Dream address. This despite opposition from some blacks (Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam said the march wasn’t militant enough) and whites (President Kennedy feared it would be too militant and have a negative impact on the passage of civil-rights legislation). In fact, the march played a major influential role in getting the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964.
  • Starting in 1963, the FBI placed wiretaps on Dr. King's home and office phones, and bugged his hotel rooms. They accused him of being a Communist, and distributed reports of his extramarital affairs to discredit him. The FBI also sent Dr. King anonymous letters threatening to reveal more information unless he end his civil-rights work.
  • Martin Luther King with medallion

  • He wrote five books and numerous articles
  • TIME magazine named him 1963 Man of the Year, making him the first African-American to receive this accolade
  • In 1964, when he was just 35, Dr. King became the 14th American, the third Negro and the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. King turned over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil-rights movement.


In March 1968, Dr. King flew to Memphis, Tennessee, to support black sanitary public-works employees, on strike for higher wages and better treatment. His flight to Memphis was delayed because of a bomb threat against his plane.

On April 3, Dr. King addressed a rally and delivered his I've Been to the Mountaintop address. Here's the most famous Martin Luther King quote from that speech, in reference to the threats on his life:

“What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers? 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!”

Pictures of Martin Luther King help to tell his story, and videos even more so:

Dr. King was shot down the next day, April 4, 1968.

Pronounced dead after emergency surgery, his autopsy revealed that although only 39, Dr. King had the heart of a 60-year-old, likely the result of 13 years of constant strain, leading the civil-rights movement.

The many awards Dr. King received in his lifetime were augmented by those awarded him posthumously, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977) and the Congressional Gold Medal (2004). And Martin Luther King, Jr. Day became a U.S. national holiday in 1986.

The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church—both in America—recognize Dr. King as a saint.


These Martin Luther King quotes will give you a good idea of the enormous struggle African Americans living in the southern American states went through to win their human rights—not so very long ago. And of the indomitable, loving spirit of the great man who led them.

(PLEASE NOTE: Dr. King used “man,” “he” and “his” when he spoke, because in his day, these words were thought to include women. So please understand that the remarks in these Martin Luther King quotes are intended to include all people.)

Short Martin Luther King quotes on attitude

- Be concerned about your brother.

- We must move past indecision to action.

- Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness.

- If you truly love and respect an opponent, you respect his fears too.

- The shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of soft-mindedness.

Longer Martin Luther King quotes on attitude

- We must combine the toughness of the serpent with the softness of the dove—a tough mind and a tender heart.

- The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

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

- We must never allow ourselves to become satisfied with unattained goals. We must always maintain a kind of divine discontent.

- Whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can't ride your back unless it is bent.

Long Martin Luther King quotes on attitude

- The soft-minded man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo, and he has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest pain is the pain of a new idea.

- Keep feeling the need for being important. Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be the first in love. I want you to be the first in moral excellence. I want you to be the first in generosity.

Short Martin Luther King quotes on character

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

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

Longer Martin Luther King quotes on character

- When the "without" of man's nature subjugates the "within," dark storm clouds begin to form in the world.

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

- What doth it profit a man to gain the whole world of means—airplanes, televisions, electric lights—and lose the end: the soul?

Long Martin Luther King quotes on character

- 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 hardheartedness?

- The ultimate test of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and moments of convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge and moments of controversy.

- 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.

Longest Martin Luther King quotes on character

- 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.

- Every man lives in two realms, the internal and the external. The internal is that realm of spiritual ends expressed in art, literature, morals and religion. The external is that complex of devices, techniques, mechanisms and instrumentalities by means of which we live. Our problem today is that we have allowed the internal to become lost in the external. We have allowed the means by which we live to outdistance the ends for which we live.

Short Martin Luther King quotes on the civil rights movement

- A riot is the language of the unheard.

- All we say to America is, "Be true to what you said on paper."

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

- Perhaps the South, the nation, and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

- We must be sure that our struggle is conducted on the highest level of dignity and discipline.

Longer Martin Luther King quotes on the civil rights movement

- The old order ends, no matter what Bastilles remain, when the enslaved, within themselves, bury the psychology of servitude.

- Mass civil disobedience as a new stage of struggle can transmute the deep rage of the ghetto into a constructive and creative force.

- The hundreds of thousands who marched in Washington marched to level barriers. They summed up everything in a word—NOW.

- Everyone is worrying about the long hot summer with its threat of riots. We had a long cold winter when little was done about the conditions that create riots.

- We must stand up and say, "I'm black and I'm beautiful," and this self-affirmation is the black man's need, made compelling by the white man's crimes against him.

- We have learned from hard and bitter experience that our Government does not move to correct a problem involving race until it is confronted directly and dramatically.

- It is true that behaviour cannot be legislated, and legislation cannot make you love me, but legislation can restrain you from lynching me, and I think that is kind of important.

Long Martin Luther King quotes on the civil rights movement

- We aren't engaged in any negative protest and in any negative arguments with anybody. We are saying that we are determined to be men. We are determined to be people. We are saying that we are God's children.

- For years now, I have heard the word “Wait!” This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” … When you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”—then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.

- The movement does not seek to liberate Negroes at the expense of the humiliation and enslavement of whites. It seeks no victory over anyone. It seeks to liberate American society and to share in the self-liberation of all the people.

- Our goal is freedom, and I believe we are going to get there because however much she strays away from it, the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be as a people, our destiny is tied up in the destiny of America.

Longest Martin Luther King quotes on the civil rights movement

- If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn't committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.

- When the Constitution was written, a strange formula to determine taxes and representation declared that the Negro was 60 percent of a person. Today another curious formula seems to declare that he is 50 percent of a person. Of the good things in life, the Negro has approximately one half those of whites. Of the bad things of life, he has twice those of whites. Thus half of all Negroes live in substandard housing. And Negroes have half the income of whites. When we view the negative experiences of life, the Negro has a double share. There are twice as many unemployed. The rate of infant mortality among Negroes is double that of whites and there are twice as many Negroes dying in Vietnam as whites in proportion to their size in the population. (In 1967)

These Martin Luther King quotes on civil rights eloquently show the real need for legislated equality in the Unites States. Small wonder, then, that Dr. King looks pleased in the picture below of the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, by President Johnson.

President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act in 1964 as Martin Luther King and others look on

Martin Luther King quote on colonialism

- Colonialism and segregation are nearly synonymous… because their common end is economic exploitation, political domination and the debasing of human personality.

Martin Luther King quote on compassion

- 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 quotes on death

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

- If you are cut down in a movement that is designed to save the soul of a nation, then no other death could be more redemptive.

Martin Luther King quotes on democracy

- Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.

- Communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated.

- We must not engage in a negative anticommunism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against Communism is to take offensive action on behalf of justice.

Martin Luther King quotes on determination

- When people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.

- With patient and firm determination we will press on until every valley of despair is exalted to new peaks of hope. Until every mountain of pride and irrationality is made low by the levelling process of humility and compassion. Until the rough places of injustice are transformed into a smooth plane of equality of opportunity. And until the crooked places of prejudice are transformed by the straightening process of bright-eyed wisdom.

Martin Luther King quote on evil

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

Martin Luther King quote on faith

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

- Faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom.

Short Martin Luther King quote on freedom

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

Longer Martin Luther King quotes on freedom

- This is no time for romantic illusions and empty philosophical debates about freedom. This is a time for action.

- We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

Long Martin Luther King quote on freedom

- The Bible tells the thrilling story of how Moses stood in Pharaoh's court centuries ago and cried, "Let my people go." This is a kind of opening chapter in a continuing story.

- In a pluralistic society such as ours, who is to determine what prayer shall be spoken and by whom? Legally, constitutionally or otherwise, the state certainly has no such right.

- The Negro will only be free when he reaches down to the inner depths of his own being and signs with the pen and ink of assertive manhood his own emancipation proclamation.

Longest Martin Luther King quote on freedom

- Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained.

Martin Luther King quotes on the future

- We have come a long, long way, but we still have a long, long way to go.

- Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

Long Martin Luther King quote on the future

- The road ahead will not always be smooth. There will still be rocky places of frustration and meandering points of bewilderment. There will be inevitable setbacks here and there. There will be those moments when the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into the fatigue of despair. Our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted. … Difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future.

Martin Luther King quote on harmony

- Racial injustice around the world, poverty, war—when man solves these three great problems he will have squared his moral progress with his scientific progress. And more importantly, he will have learned the practical art of living in harmony.

Short Martin Luther King quotes on hate

- Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

- Don't ever let anyone pull you so low as to hate them.

- The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate.

- To return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe.

- Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity.

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

- Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate.

- History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate.

Longer Martin Luther King quotes on hate

- 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 destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.

- In struggling for human dignity the oppressed people of the world must not allow themselves to become bitter or indulge in hate campaigns. To retaliate with hate and bitterness would do nothing but intensify the hate in the world.

Long Martin Luther King quotes on hate

- 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 cannot communicate; they cannot communicate because they are separated.

- We must have compassion and understanding for those who hate us. We must realize so many people are taught to hate us that they are not totally responsible for their hate. But we stand in life at midnight; we are always on the threshold of a new dawn.

Longest Martin Luther King quote on hate

- I have seen too much hate. I've seen too much hate on the faces of sheriffs in the South. I've seen hate on the faces of too many Klansmen and too many White Citizens Councilors in the South to want to hate myself. Because every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces and their personalities and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear.

Short Martin Luther King quotes on himself

Martin Luther King looks into your soul... with love

- I have decided to love.

- I tried to love and serve humanity.

- I still believe that we shall overcome!

- Before I will be a slave, I will be dead in my grave.

- An ambivert—half introvert and half extrovert. (Of himself)

- I like to get in over my head, then bother people with questions.

- I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history.

- I am not so opposed to capitalism that I have failed to see its relative merits.

- I don't want to look like an undertaker, but I do believe in conservative dress.

Longer Martin Luther King quotes on himself

- I believe that what self-centred men have torn down, men other-centred can build up.

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

- I believe that even amid today's mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow.

- 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.

- I still have a dream. I have a dream that one day men will rise up and come to see that they are made to live together as brothers.

- The spirit of passive resistance came to me from the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. The techniques of execution came from Gandhi.

- I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events that surround him.

- I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction.

Long Martin Luther King quotes on himself

- I refuse to accept the idea that the "is-ness" of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal "ought-ness" that forever confronts him.

- I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men.

- 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 have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.

- I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land.

- Every now and then I think about my own death, and I think about my own funeral. And I don't think of it in a morbid sense. Every now and then I ask myself, "What is it that I would want said?"

Longest Martin Luther King quote on himself

- I don't want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. Every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize, that isn't important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards, that's not important. Tell him not to mention where I went to school. I'd like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I'd like for somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody. I want you to say that day, that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say, on that day, that I did try, in my life, to visit those who were in prison. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.

Short Martin Luther King quotes on hope

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

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

- There is little hope for us until we become tough-minded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half-truths and downright ignorance.

Long Martin Luther King quote on hope

- When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows.

Martin Luther King quotes from “I Have A Dream”

(Please Note: Contrary to the usual short-to-longest-quotes format on, these Martin Luther King quotes from I Have a Dream follow the way Dr. King delivered the famous address.)

In 1963, hundreds of thousands of people gathered peacefully for change in Washington DC

- In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a cheque. 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 inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of colour are concerned. Instead of honouring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad cheque, a cheque which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.

- We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. 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 open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

- This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

- 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. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

- There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

- Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. 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 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 down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day, even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

- I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification—one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. 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 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. This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. We will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

- When we allow freedom (to) 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!"

No page of Martin Luther King Jr. quotes would be complete without this video clip:

Martin Luther King quote on inter-racial marriage

- Individuals marry, not races.

Short Martin Luther King quotes on interdependence

- We've got to stay together and maintain unity.

- Either we go up together, or we go down together.

- We are bound together in a single garment of destiny.

- All life is interrelated, and all men are interdependent.

- The black man needs the white man and the white man needs the black man.

- We are inevitably our brothers' keeper because of the interrelated structure of reality.

Longer Martin Luther King quotes on interdependence

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

- We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.

Long Martin Luther King quotes on interdependence

- 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. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured.

- There is no separate black path to power and fulfillment that does not intersect white paths, and there is no separate white path to power and fulfillment—short of social disaster—that does not share that power with black aspirations for freedom and human dignity.

Short Martin Luther King quotes on justice

- Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

- Justice is love correcting that which revolts against love.

Longer Martin Luther King quotes on justice

- Any law that uplifts the human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.

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

Long Martin Luther King quotes on justice

- An unjust law is a code that a majority inflicts on a minority that is not binding on itself. This is difference made legal. On the other hand a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal.

- How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a manmade 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. To put it in terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.

Martin Luther King quote on leadership

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

Short Martin Luther King quotes on life

- Life's most urgent question is: what are you doing for others?

- Life at its best is a creative synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony.

- Communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social.

- The great tragedy of life is that too often we allow the means by which we live to outdistance the ends for which we live.

Long Martin Luther King quote on life

- Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meaning can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.

Short Martin Luther King quotes on love

- It is not enough for us to talk about love.

- Love is one of the pivotal points of the Christian faith.

- Love is the key to the solution of the problems of the world.

- Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be first in love.

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

Longer Martin Luther King quotes on love

- Someone must have sense enough and religion enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love.

- He who hates does not know God, but he who has love has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality.

- Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

- Here and there an individual or group dares to love, and rises to the majestic heights of moral maturity. So in a real sense this is a great time to be alive.

Long Martin Luther King quotes on love

- This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighbourly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all.

- Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bosh; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one's whole being into the being of another.

- 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.

- Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. So when Jesus says "Love your enemies," he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition.

Longest Martin Luther King quotes on love

Martin Luther King talks to interviewers

- I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism. Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization.

- I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind's problems. And I'm going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn't popular to talk about it in some circles today. I'm not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love, I'm talking about a strong, demanding love.

- When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response, which is little more than emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door that leads to ultimate reality.

- When we rise to love on the agape* level, we love men not because we like them, not because their attitudes and ways appeal to us, but we love them because God loves them. Here we rise to the position of loving the person who does the evil deed while hating the deed that the person does. (*agape: selfless, unconditional, spiritual love)

Short Martin Luther King quotes on the Montgomery bus boycott

- I'm here, taking a stand.

- You know my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled by the iron feet of oppression.

- As the leader of a nonviolent movement, I'd look pretty bad carrying a gun. (Of the suggestion to protect himself with a weapon)

- I would be terribly disappointed if any of you go back to the buses bragging, “We, the Negroes, won a victory over the white people."

Longer Martin Luther King quotes on the Montgomery bus boycott

- If you had asked me the day before our protest began whether any action could or would have been taken by the Negroes, I'd have said no. Then, all of a sudden, unity developed.

- Please be peaceful. We believe in law and order. We are not advocating violence. We want to love our enemies. I want you to love our enemies. Be good to them. Love them and let them know you love them.

- I did not start this boycott. I was asked by you to serve as your spokesman. I want it to be known the length and breadth of the land that if I am stopped, this movement will not stop. If I am stopped, our work will not stop, for what we are doing is right. What we are doing is just—and God is with us.

Long Martin Luther King quotes on the Montgomery bus boycott

- Our use of passive resistance in Montgomery is not based on resistance to get rights for ourselves, but to achieve friendship with the men who are denying us our rights, and change them through friendship and a bond of Christian understanding before God.

- A vital liaison between Negroes and whites was totally lacking. There was not even a ministerial alliance to bring white and coloured clergymen together. This is important. If there had been some communication between the races, we might have got some help from the responsible whites, and our protest might not have been necessary.

Longest Martin Luther King quote on the Montgomery bus boycott

- If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong. And if we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong. If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a Utopian dreamer that never came down to earth. If we are wrong, justice is a lie, love has no meaning. And we are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

For another point of view of the bus boycott, you can click here for quotes about it from Rosa Parks.

Martin Luther King quotes on nationalism

- A great nation is a compassionate nation.

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

- Don't let anybody make you think God chose America as his divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world.

- Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood… This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties... broader and deeper than nationalism.

Short Martin Luther King quotes on nonviolence

- At the centre of nonviolence stands the principle of love.

- We do not want to instill fear in others or into the society of which we are a part.

- Nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.

- I believe in this method because I think it is the only way to reestablish a broken community.

- Nonviolent resistance avoids not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit.

Longer Martin Luther King quotes on nonviolence

- Nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force that makes for social transformation.

- Nonviolence is our testing point. The strong man is the man who can stand up for his rights and not hit back.

- Nonviolent resistance does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding.

- The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness.

- Nonviolence is both the most practically sound and morally excellent way to grapple with the age-old problem of racial injustice.

- This method is passive physically but strongly active spiritually; it is non-aggressive physically but dynamically aggressive spiritually.

- We aren't going to let any mace stop us. We are masters in our nonviolent movement in disarming police forces; they don't know what to do.

- Nonviolence 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.

Long Martin Luther King quotes on nonviolence

- The attack is directed against forces of evil rather than against persons who are caught in those forces. It is evil we are seeking to defeat, not the persons victimized by evil.

- 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.

- It is the method that seeks to implement the just law by appealing to the conscience of the great decent majority who through blindness, fear, pride and irrationality have allowed their consciences to sleep.

- The nonviolent resister must often express his protest through non-cooperation or boycotts, but he realizes that non-cooperation and boycotts are not ends themselves; they are merely means to awaken a sense of moral shame in the opponent. The end is redemption and reconciliation.

Longest Martin Luther King quotes on nonviolence

- Nonviolent resisters can summarize their message in the following simple terms: we will take direct action against injustice despite the failure of governmental and other official agencies to act first. We will not obey unjust laws or submit to unjust practices. We will do this peacefully, openly, cheerfully, because our aim is to persuade.

- We adopt the means of nonviolence because our end is a community at peace with itself. We will try to persuade with our words, but if our words fail, we will try to persuade with our acts. We will always be willing to talk and seek fair compromise, but we are ready to suffer when necessary and even risk our lives to become witnesses to truth as we see it.

- We will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. We will not hate you, but we cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws. We will soon wear you down by our capacity to suffer. And in winning our freedom, we will so appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process.

- I venture to suggest… that the philosophy and strategy of nonviolence become immediately a subject for study and for serious experimentation in every field of human conflict, by no means excluding the relations between nations. It is, after all, nation-states that make war, which have produced the weapons that threaten the survival of mankind, and which are both genocidal and suicidal in character.

- This is not a method for cowards; it does resist. The nonviolent resister is just as strongly opposed to the evil against which he protests as is the person who uses violence. His method is passive or non-aggressive in the sense that he is not physically aggressive toward his opponent. But his mind and emotions are always active, constantly seeking to persuade the opponent that he is mistaken.

- Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.

- Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity. In a real sense, Mahatma Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral structure of the universe, and these principles are as inescapable as the law of gravitation.

- True nonviolent resistance is not unrealistic submission to evil power. It is rather a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love, in the faith that it is better to be the recipient of violence than the inflictor of it, since the latter only multiplies the existence of violence and bitterness in the universe, while the former may develop a sense of shame in the opponent, and thereby bring about a transformation and change of heart.

- We don't have to argue with anybody. We don't have to curse and go around acting bad with our words. We don't need any bricks and bottles, we don't need any Molotov cocktails, we just need to go around to these stores, and to these massive industries in our country, and say, "God sent us by here, to say to you that you're not treating his children right. And we've come by here to ask you to make the first item on your agenda fair treatment, where God's children are concerned. Now, if you are not prepared to do that, we do have an agenda that we must follow. And our agenda calls for withdrawing economic support from you."

Short Martin Luther King quotes on peace

Stainglass Dove of Peace

- We will not build a peaceful world by following a negative path.

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

- We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools.

- Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood.

- 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.

- We must now give an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in our individual societies.

- We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.

- There are people who have come to see the moral imperative of equality, but who cannot yet see the moral imperative of world brotherhood.

Longer Martin Luther King quotes on peace

- Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighbourhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood.

- We must fix our vision not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but upon the positive affirmation of peace. We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody that is far superior to the discords of war.

Long Martin Luther King quotes on peace

- Somehow we must transform the dynamics of the world power struggle from the negative nuclear-arms race, which no one can win, to a positive contest to harness man's creative genius for the purpose of making peace and prosperity a reality for all of the nations of the world.

- Mankind's survival is dependent upon man's ability to solve the problems of racial injustice, poverty, and war; the solution of these problems is in turn dependent upon man squaring his moral progress with his scientific progress, and learning the practical art of living in harmony.

- We have inherited a big house, a great "world house" in which we have to live together—black and white, Easterners and Westerners, Gentiles and Jews, Catholics and Protestants, Moslem and Hindu—a family unduly separated in ideas, culture, and interests who, because we can never again live without each other, must learn, somehow, in this one big world, to live with each other.

- One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means. All of this is saying that, in the final analysis, means and ends must cohere because the end is preexistent in the means, and ultimately destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends.

- World peace through non-violent means is neither absurd nor unattainable. All other methods have failed. Thus we must begin anew. Non-violence is a good starting point. Those of us who believe in this method can be voices of reason, sanity and understanding amid the voices of violence, hatred and emotion. We can very well set a mood of peace out of which a system of peace can be built.

Longest Martin Luther King quote on peace

- This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I'm speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men—for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the One who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the Vietcong or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this One? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?

Short Martin Luther King quotes on poverty

- The time has come for an all-out world war against poverty.

- There is no deficit in human resources; the deficit is in human will.

- Poverty is one of the most urgent items on the agenda of modern life.

- The agony of the poor diminishes the rich, and the salvation of the poor enlarges the rich.

- The rich must not ignore the poor because both rich and poor are tied in a single garment of destiny.

- The wealthy nations must go all out to bridge the gulf between the rich minority and the poor majority.

- The well-off and the secure have too often become indifferent and oblivious to the poverty and deprivation in their midst.

- The rich nations must use their vast resources of wealth to develop the underdeveloped, school the unschooled, and feed the unfed.

Longer Martin Luther King quotes on poverty

- If man is to redeem his spiritual and moral "lag," he must go all out to bridge the social and economic gulf between the "haves" and the "have nots" of the world.

- The poor in our countries have been shut out of our minds, and driven from the mainstream of our societies, because we have allowed them to become invisible.

- Why should there be hunger and privation in any land, in any city, at any table when man has the resources and the scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life?

- There is a sort of poverty of the spirit that stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually.

Long Martin Luther King quotes on poverty

- Just as nonviolence exposed the ugliness of racial injustice, so must the infection and sickness of poverty be exposed and healed—not only its symptoms but its basic causes. This, too, will be a fierce struggle, but we must not be afraid to pursue the remedy no matter how formidable the task.

- It's all right to talk about "long white robes over yonder," in all of its symbolism. But ultimately people want some suits and dresses and shoes to wear down here. It's all right to talk about "streets flowing with milk and honey," but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here, and his children who can't eat three square meals a day.

- Deeply etched in the fibre of our religious tradition is the conviction that men are made in the image of God and that they are souls of infinite metaphysical value, the heirs of a legacy of dignity and worth. If we feel this as a profound moral fact, we cannot be content to see men hungry, to see men victimized with starvation and ill health when we have the means to help them.

Longest Martin Luther King quote on poverty

- In a sense the poverty of the poor in America is more frustrating than the poverty of Africa and Asia. The misery of the poor in Africa and Asia is shared misery, a fact of life for the vast majority; they are all poor together as a result of years of exploitation and underdevelopment. In sad contrast, the poor in America know that they live in the richest nation in the world, and that even though they are perishing on a lonely island of poverty they are surrounded by a vast ocean of material prosperity.

Short Martin Luther King quotes on power

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

- Enlarged material powers spell enlarged peril if there is not proportionate growth of the soul.

- Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.

Long Martin Luther King quotes on power

- Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.

- Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political and economic change.

- Let us be dissatisfied until that day when nobody will shout "White Power!" When nobody will shout "Black Power!" But everybody will talk about God's power and human power.

- One of the great problems of history is that the concepts of love and power have usually been contrasted as opposites—polar opposites—so that love is identified with a resignation of power, and power with a denial of love.

Martin Luther King quotes on racism

- No matter how low one sinks into racial bigotry, he can be redeemed.

- The struggle to eliminate the evil of racial injustice constitutes one of the major struggles of our time.

- The problem of racism, the problem of exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated.

- 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.

- Those of us who struggle against racial injustice must come to see that the basic tension is not between races. As I like to say to the people in Montgomery, Alabama: "The tension in this city is not between white people and Negro people. The tension is at bottom between justice and injustice, between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. And if there is a victory it will be a victory not merely for 50,000 Negroes, but a victory for justice and the forces of light. We are out to defeat injustice, and not white persons who may happen to be unjust."

Martin Luther King quotes on religion

Martin Luther King

- Soft-mindedness often invades religion.

- 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.

- Soft-minded persons have revised the Beautitudes to read: "Blessed are the pure in ignorance: for they shall see God." This has led to a widespread belief that there is a conflict between science and religion. But this is not true. There may be a conflict between soft-minded religionists and tough-minded scientists, but not between science and religion.

Martin Luther King quotes on revolution

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

- The Negro revolution is a genuine revolution, born from the same womb that produces all massive social upheavals—the womb of intolerable conditions and unendurable situations.

- Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken—the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments.

- It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of Communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries.

Martin Luther King quotes on segregation

- Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.

- Racial segregation must be seen for what it is—and that is an evil system, a new form of slavery covered up with certain niceties of complexity.

- All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority.

Martin Luther King quotes on self-esteem

Psychological freedom, a firm sense of self-esteem, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery. No Lincolnian emancipation proclamation or Johnsonian civil rights bill can totally bring this kind of freedom.

- With a spirit straining toward true self-esteem, the Negro must boldly throw off the manacles of self-abnegation and say to himself and to the world, "I am somebody. I am a person. I am a man with dignity and honour. I have a rich and noble history.”

Martin Luther King quotes on service

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

- 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 don't have to know about Plato or Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.

Martin Luther King quotes on speaking out

- We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.

- Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak.

- We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls "enemy," for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

Martin Luther King quotes on time

- Procrastination is still the thief of time.

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

- We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now.

- We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today.

- In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late.

- We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on.

- Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, "Too late."

Martin Luther King quotes on values

Martin Luther King gets ready to write

- A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, "This way of settling differences is not just."

- A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional.

- We must massively assert our dignity and worth. We must stand up amidst a system that still oppresses us and develop an unassailable and majestic sense of values.

- When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

- I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society.

- A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just."

Short Martin Luther King quotes on violence

- Violence is not going to solve our problem.

- Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts.

- Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral.

- The reason I can't follow the old eye-for-an-eye philosophy is that it ends up leaving everyone blind.

Longer Martin Luther King quotes on violence

- The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.

- Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert.

- Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate.

- I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today—my own government.

Long Martin Luther King quotes on violence

- Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue… It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.

- 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. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones.

Longest Martin Luther King quote on violence

- When one tries to pin down advocates of violence as to what acts would be effective, the answers are blatantly illogical. Sometimes they talk of overthrowing racist state and local governments and they talk about guerrilla warfare. They fail to see that no internal revolution has ever succeeded in overthrowing a government by violence unless the government had already lost the allegiance and effective control of its armed forces. Anyone in his right mind knows that this will not happen in the United States.

Short Martin Luther King quotes on war

- War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons.

- If we assume that life is worth living and that man has a right to survive, then we must find an alternative to war.

- Man's proneness to engage in war is still a fact. But wisdom born of experience should tell us that war is obsolete.

- It is as imperative and urgent to put an end to war and violence between nations as it is to put an end to racial injustice.

- A so-called limited war will leave little more than a calamitous legacy of human suffering, political turmoil and spiritual disillusionment.

Longer Martin Luther King quotes on war

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

- The chain reaction of evil—hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars—must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.

- If modern man continues to flirt unhesitatingly with war, he will transform his earthly habitat into an inferno such as even the mind of Dante could not imagine.

- In a day when vehicles hurtle through outer space and guided ballistic missiles carve highways of death through the stratosphere, no nation can claim victory in war.

- Anyone who feels—and there are still a lot of people who feel that way—that war can solve the social problems facing mankind is sleeping through a great revolution.

- We force young black men and young white men to fight and kill in brutal solidarity. Yet when they come back home they can’t hardly live on the same block together.

- Let us not join those who shout war and, through their misguided passions, urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days that demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness.

Long Martin Luther King quotes on war

- There may have been a time when war served as a negative good by preventing the spread and growth of an evil force, but the destructive power of modern weapons eliminated even the possibility that war may serve as a negative good.

Longest Martin Luther King quotes on war

- Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplex(ing) as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

- On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" And Vanity comes along and 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 he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. I believe today that there is a need for all people of good will to come together with a massive act of conscience and say in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "We ain't goin' study war no more." This is the challenge facing modern man.

Long Martin Luther King quotes on the war in Vietnam

A US soldier watches a wood building burning in the Vietnamese jungle

- We are spending $500,000 to kill every Vietcong soldier. Every time we kill one we spend about $500,000. While we spend only $53 a year for every person characterized as poverty-stricken in the so-called poverty program, which is not even a good skirmish against poverty.

- It should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam. It (America) can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over.

- This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love.

Longer Martin Luther King quotes on the war in Vietnam

- I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.

- They (the Vietnamese) watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals with at least 20 casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.

Longest Martin Luther King quotes on the war in Vietnam

- The war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society, and sending them 8,000 miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia that they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. And so we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. And so we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

Dead bodies of civilians, including children, after the US massacre at My Lai

- Since I am a preacher by calling, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor—both black and white—through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated, as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

Martin Luther King quotes on weapons of mass destruction

- The best brains in the highly developed nations of the world are devoted to military technology.

- The fact that most of the time human beings put the truth about the nature and risks of the nuclear war out of their minds, because it is too painful and therefore not "acceptable," does not alter the nature and risks of such war. The device of "rejection" may temporarily cover up anxiety, but it does not bestow peace of mind and emotional security.

Short Martin Luther King quotes on world crisis

- We are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born.

- Every crisis has both its dangers and its opportunities. It can spell either salvation or doom.

Long Martin Luther King quote on world crisis

- In spite of the tensions and uncertainties of this period something profoundly meaningful is taking place. Old systems of exploitation and oppression are passing away, and out of the womb of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. Doors of opportunity are gradually being opened to those at the bottom of society. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are developing a new sense of "somebodiness" and carving a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of despair.

Martin Luther King quotes on his youth

- I was ready to resent all the white race. As I got to see more of white people, my resentment was softened, and a spirit of cooperation took its place. But I never felt like a spectator in the racial problem. I wanted to be involved in the very heart of it.

- I had been brought up in the church and knew about religion, but I wondered whether it could serve as a vehicle to modern thinking. I wondered whether religion, with its emotionalism in Negro churches, could be intellectually respectable as well as emotionally satisfying.

~ End of Martin Luther King quotes ~

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