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Martin Luther King Quotes

Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King Day

To celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s enduring and powerful message of peace and acceptance, here are some of his wise words. Which quote is most powerful for you?

We must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring. When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.

Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.

The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.

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.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
-Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.

The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.

-Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.


Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction….The chain reaction of evil–hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars–must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.

-Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength To Love, 1963.

Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.
-Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength To Love, 1963.

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 violence for violence multiplies violence, 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.

In honor of MLK, please share your dream for the future in the comments.

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