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Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr’s Life Today

Submitted by on January 16, 2012 – 2:32 pmNo Comment
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Today is a holiday in the U.S. marking the birth of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.

Each year, on the third Monday of January, Americans celebrate the life of Dr. King (who was born on January 15), a peaceful revolutionary who dedicated his years to fighting for justice for African-Americans during the civil rights era. In honor of his legacy, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite quotes from the man whose quest for equality inspires us all.

  • “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
  • “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
  • “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
  • “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
  • “I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
  • “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
  • “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”
  • “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
  • “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.”
  • “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
  • “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
  • “Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.”
  • “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
  • “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.”
  • “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
  • “No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.”
  • “I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.”
  • “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
  • “Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.”
  • “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
  • “Not only will we have to repent for the sins of bad people; but we also will have to repent for the appalling silence of good people.”
  • “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.”
  • “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
  • “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.”
  • “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”
  • “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”
  • “The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.”
  • “The time is always right to do the right thing”
  • “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
  • “We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
  • “There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”
  • “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.”
  • “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
  • “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend.”
  • “No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”
  • “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”
  • “Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.”
  • “As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”
  • “Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”
  • “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
  • “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
  • “We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
  • “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.”
  • “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?”
  • “True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. ”
  • “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
  • “The day we see the truth and cease to speak is the day we begin to die”
  • “One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.”
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