Martin Luther King Jr. was without a doubt one of the most important figures of the 20th century. He contributed to the advancement of Civil Rights in the United States through non-violent disobedience based on his Christian beliefs; and hence played a key role in shaping the United States as they are today.
Moreover, the work of Martin Luther King Jr. has echoed around the world, inspiring civil rights activists in places as far and different from each other as South Africa and Ireland. To honor his cause and legacy, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. on the third Monday of January each year.
On the occasion of this day, we chose 35 of his most inspiring quotes. Read them below.
1. "darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
2. "I have decided to stick to love... Hate is too great a burden to bear."
[Tweet "3. "Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.""]
[Tweet "4. "We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.""]
5. "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."
6. "I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls."
7. "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."
[Tweet "8. "Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase.""]
9. "I'll tell you, I've seen the lightning flash. I've heard the thunder roll. I felt sin-breakers dashing, trying to conquer my soul. But I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on."
10. "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."
11. "True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."
[Tweet "12. "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'""]
13. "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."
14. "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
15. "We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools."
16. "Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude."
[Tweet "17. "No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they'd die for.""]
18. "There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right."
19."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."
20. "We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience."
21. "A man who won't die for something is not fit to live."
22. "There comes a time when silence is betrayal."
23. "Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest."
24. "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
[Tweet "25. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.""]
26. "Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal."
27. "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."
28. "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
29. "Only in the darkness can you see the stars."
30. "If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great sweeper who did his job well."
[Tweet "31. "No person has the right to rain on your dreams.""]
32. "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."
33. "I often feel like saying, when I hear the question 'People aren't ready,' that it's like telling a person who is trying to swim, 'Don't jump in that water until you learn how to swim.' When actually you will never learn how to swim until you get in the water."
34. "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."
35. "Intelligence plus character —that is the goal of true education."
Martin Luther King Jr. was devoted to getting equal civil rights for the African-American community in times when it was oppressed and discriminated against. He raised his voice and sparked change: a few days after his assassination, the US Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968. The law included the prohibition of residential discrimination on the basis of race, religion or natural origin; one of the causes MLK vouched for.
We all have a voice and the power within us to stand up and transform our world. Check out our Fighting Poverty Program and Climate Change Activist Program to see how you can use your voice and knowledge in fighting two of mankind's biggest issues.