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Martin Luther King Jr Day 2019: 50 Quotes From The Civil Rights Leader Who Inspired A Nation

“Ben, make sure you play ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’. Play it real pretty”, are said to be the last words of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, just before he stepped out onto a balcony in Memphis, Tennessee where a gunman shot him a single time, ending his life half a century ago. Martin Luther King Jr Day 2019: 50 Quotes From The Civil Rights Leader Who Inspired A Nation

Martin Luther King Jr Day 2019: 50 Quotes From The Civil Rights Leader Who Inspired A Nation
Martin Luther King Jr’s Campaign For Civil Rights

That gunshot over 50 years ago put an end to the life of a man who is one of the most revered figures in American history — not to mention one of the most quotable individuals with a persistent relevance to the condition of the country and its people. On Monday, the nation will celebrate his life and his birthday for Martin Luther King Jr Day, which occurs each year on the third Monday of January even though his actual birthday was on the 15th.

Before King made that plea for the sounds of beauty to Ben Branch, a musician scheduled to play at a planned event that evening in Memphis, he was known for using his words to inspire a generation to peaceful action in the fight for civil rights.

Here Are Famous Quotes From The Late Reverend, In His Own Words:

  • “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
  • “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.”
  • “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
  • “There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breath.”
  • “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 keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.”
  • “All labour that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
  • “It is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes; but they are derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of white society.”
  • “We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.”
  • “The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
  • “If I wish to compose or write or pray or perch well, I must be angry. Then all the blood in my veins is stirred, and my understanding is sharpened.”
  • “A right delayed is a right denied.”
  • “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
  • “The Negro needs the white man to free him from his fears. The white man needs the Negro to free him from his guilt.”
  • “Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.”
  • “If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.”
  • “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a moulder of consensus.”
  • “It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.”
  • “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.”
  • “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.”
  • “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
  • “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”
  • “If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”
  • “A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.”
  • “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”
  • “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
  • “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself.”
  • “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.”
  • “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 together at the table of brotherhood.”
  • “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
  • “Any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.”
  • “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”
  • “Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.”
  • “A riot is the language of the unheard.”
  • “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
  • “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
  • “Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.”
  • “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.”
  • “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
  • “Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”
  • “Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.”
  • “Every man must decided whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
  • “When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.”
  • “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
  • “The time is always right to do what is right.”
  • “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.
  • “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
  • “I have decided to stick with love. hate is too great a burden to bear”
  • “Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty we are free at last.”
  • “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
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