Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes

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Martin Luther King, Jr.

Birthdate: 15. January 1929
Date of death: 4. April 1968

Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs and inspired by the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.

King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, serving as its first president. With the SCLC, King led an unsuccessful 1962 struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia, and helped organize the 1963 nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Alabama. King also helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

On October 14, 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. In 1965, he helped to organize the Selma to Montgomery marches, and the following year he and SCLC took the movement north to Chicago to work on segregated housing. In the final years of his life, King expanded his focus to include opposition towards poverty and the Vietnam War, alienating many of his liberal allies with a 1967 speech titled "Beyond Vietnam".

In 1968, King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., to be called the Poor People's Campaign, when he was assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee. King's death was followed by riots in many U.S. cities. Ray, who fled the country, was arrested two months later at London Heathrow Airport. Ray was sentenced to 99 years in prison for King's murder, and died in 1998 from hepatitis while serving his sentence.

King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established as a holiday in numerous cities and states beginning in 1971, and as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986. Hundreds of streets in the U.S. have been renamed in his honor, and a county in Washington State was also renamed for him. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was dedicated in 2011.

Works

Strength to Love
Strength to Love
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Why We Can't Wait
Why We Can't Wait
Martin Luther King, Jr.
I Have a Dream
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.

'Where Do We Go From Here?" as published in Where Do We Go from Here : Chaos or Community? (1967), p. 62; many statements in this book, or slight variants of them, were also part of his address Where Do We Go From Here?" which has a section below. A common variant appearing at least as early as 1968 has "Returning violence for violence multiplies violence..." An early version of the speech as published in A Martin Luther King Treasury (1964), p. 173, has : "Returning hate for hate multiplies hate..."
1960s
Source: A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches
Context: 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. 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. So it goes. … 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 cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

„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.“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Variant: Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve. You do not have to have a college degree to serve. You do not have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

„There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right….“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution" (31 March 1968)
1960s
Variant: 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.
Source: A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches
Context: 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.
Context: 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.

„Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Variant: Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.

„I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation, where they won´t be judged by the color of their skin, but by the contente of their character.-->“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Variant: 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.

Citát „In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.“

„In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr.

1960s, The Trumpet of Conscience (1967)
Variant: In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

„Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Speech to the Second National Convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights – Chicago (25 March 1966), as quoted in Dan Munro, "America's Forgotten Civil Right - Healthcare" http://www.forbes.com/sites/danmunro/2013/08/28/americas-forgotten-civil-right-healthcare/, Forbes (28 August 2013). See also: Amanda Moore, "Tracking Down Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Words on Health Care", Huffington Post (18 August 2013) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amanda-moore/martin-luther-king-health-care_b_2506393.html
1960s

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„True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar.“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr.

1960s, Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam (1967)
Context: A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be changed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. 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." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say, "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war, "This way of settling differences is not just." 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. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

„We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr.

1960s, A Christmas Sermon (1967)
Variant: We must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools.

„A man who won't die for something is not fit to live.“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Variant: If a man hasn’t found something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.
Source: The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

„Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Source: A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

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

—  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Source: I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World

„Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase.“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Variant: Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
Source: Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices on Resistance, Reform, and Renewal an African American Anthology

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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