Today everyone should take a moment to reflect, remember and take time to honor one of America’s fallen heroes – Martin Luther King and honor this day with Martin Luther King quotes. His amazing life was tragically cut short on April 5th, 1968 and we celebrate this eloquent orator and civil rights leader on this birthday (which falls on January 15th).
One simple way to make sure his lessons, insight and inspiration lives on is to reflect on some of his poignant words that are as true today as they were over forty years ago. Now there are oodles of important Martin Luther King quotes and sayings but here are 7 that really stand the test of time and are oh so true:
Hate cannot drive out hate
“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.” from Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community.
The final word
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” from Martin Luther King’s Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech
The ultimate measure of a man
“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.” from Strength to Love
“The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.” —from Strength to Love
Let no man pull you low…
“Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.” —from Paul’s Letter to American Christians
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” —Letter from Birmingham Jail
Something he will die for…
“I submit to you that if a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” —from Detroit
And you can’t celebrate MLK quotes without including his “I have a dream speech.” Here is the I have a dream speech text below for a little more added reflection.
“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, 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 the 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 color 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 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.”