A Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. In His Own Words
January 17, 2022 | Beth Sears
I decided early to give my life to something eternal and absolute. Not to these little gods that are here today and gone tomorrow, but to God who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
If physical death is the price I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.
Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.
From the I Have A Dream speech on August 28, 1963. The quotation serves as the theme of the overall design of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C., which realizes the metaphorical mountain and stone.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.
Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.
Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.
If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.
It is not enough to say ‘We must not wage war.’ It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but the positive affirmation of peace.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?
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.
The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people,
but the silence over that by the good people.
Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.
The time is always right to do right.
We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service relationship to humanity.
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 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 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.
Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service.
We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.
Segregation is the adultery of an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality.
Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them.
A riot is the language of the unheard.
We are not wrong, we are not wrong in what we are doing. If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong. And if we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong. If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer that never came down to Earth. If we are wrong, justice is a lie, love has no meaning. And we are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until ‘justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.’ (from Amos 5:24)