Martin Luther King, Jr – sometimes referred to as Dr. King, or just MLK – is most famous for his passionate speeches and actions during the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. He was also a Christian minister, and used Jesus’ command of “love your neighbor” as the basis for his non-violent approach to fighting for equal rights. From his many speeches and sermons have come numerous quotes that are still as valid and vital today as they were decades ago.
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.
Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.
Pity may represent little more than the impersonal concern which prompts the mailing of a check, but true sympathy is the personal concern which demands the giving of one’s soul.
All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
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.
We must constantly build dykes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.
We must use time creatively.
I submit to you that if a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.
Without love, benevolence becomes egotism.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
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.
Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
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 straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’
Agape is disinterested love. Agape does not begin by discriminating between worthy and unworthy people, or any qualities people possess. It begins by loving others for their sakes. Therefore, agape makes no distinction between friend and enemy; it is directed toward both.
My hope is that these quotes inspire you, empower you, and convict you. May we all be as firm in our beliefs as MLK was!