Quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr.

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...and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky... more...

Too unconcerned to love and too passionless to hate, too detached to be selfish and too lifeless to be unselfish, too indifferent to experience joy and too cold to express sorrow, they are neither dead nor alive; they merely exist. more...

Everybody can be great because everybody can serve... You only need a heart full of grace. more...

Mother Dear, one day I'm going to turn this world upside down." -From My Brother Martin, by Christine King Farris more...

Whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward! more...

How soon 'not now' becomes 'never'! more...

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable . . . more...

There is no easy way to create a world where men and women can live together... But if such a world is created in our lifetime, it will be done by rejecting the racism, materialism, and violence that has characterized Western civilization and especially by working toward a world of brotherhood, cooperation, and peace. more...

The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of nonviolence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community. more...

When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born. more...

Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. more...

America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked 'insufficient funds.' more...

Darkness is only driven out with light, not more darkness. more...

What I'm saying to you this morning is that Communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the Kingdom of Brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of Communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis. more...

And one day we must ask the question, "Why are there forty million poor people in America?" And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. more...

Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, 'Love your enemies.' It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. more...

It is hardly a moral act to encourage others patiently to accept injustice which he himself does not endure. more...

The self cannot be self without other selves. more...

A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. more...

The major problem of life is learning how to handle the costly interruptions. more...

[I] know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind's problems.... more...

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. more...

When I took up the cross I recognized it's meaning. The cross is something that you bear, and ultimately, that you die on. more...

As a young man with most of my life ahead of me, 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. more...

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 murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. more...

We have a great dream. It started way back in 1776, and God grant that America will be true to her dream. more...

There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we have the resources to get rid of it. more...

Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice. more...

You only need a heart full of grace more...

Don't let anybody make you think that God chose America as his divine, messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. more...

There is a power in love that our world has not discovered yet. Jesus discovered it centuries ago. Mahatma Gandhi of India discovered it a few years ago, but most men and most women never discover it. For they believe in hitting for hitting; they believe in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; they believe in hating for hating; but Jesus comes to us and says, 'This isn't the way.' more...

It is better to be the recipient of violence than the inflicter of it, since the latter only multiplies the existence of violence and bitterness in the universe, while the former may develop a sense of shame in the opponent, and thereby bring about a transformation and change of heart. more...

Every [person] of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits [his or her] convictions, but we must all protest. more...

I want to suggest some of the things that should begin your life's blueprint. Number one...should be a deep belief in your own dignity. Your worth and your own somebodiness... Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth, and always feel that your life has ultimate significance. more...

Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. more...

He who is greatest among you shall be a servant. That's the new definition of greatness. ... By giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. more...

Whatever effects one directly, effects all indirectly. more...

We've learned to fly the air like birds, we've learned to swim the seas like fish, and yet we haven't learned to walk the earth as brothers and sisters more...

There is no deficit in human resources; the deficit is in human will. more...

I refuse to accept the idea that the 'is-ness' of a man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the 'ought-ness' that forever confronts him. more...

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself.. more...

The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others. more...

Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. more...

A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true. more...

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars... more...

Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life's difficulties, and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph. more...

Gandhi was inevitable. If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. He lived, thought and acted, inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward a world of peace and harmony. We may ignore Gandhi at our own risk. more...

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. more...

No man (sic) has learned to live until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. Length without breadth is like a self-contained tributary having no outward flow to the ocean. Stagnant, still and stale, it lacks both life and freshness. In order to live creatively and meaningfully, our self-concern must be wedded to other concerns. more...

The problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated. more...

There is a type of constructive nonviolent tension that is necessary for growth more...

Voting is the foundation stone for political action. more...

The profit motive, when it is the sole basis of an economic system, encourages a cutthroat competition and selfish ambition that inspires men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life. more...

It seems to me that education has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society: the one is utility and the other is culture. Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the ligitimate goals of his life. more...

I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal. more...

You know my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled by the iron feet of oppression more...

There is something in the soul that cries out for freedom. more...

The real problem is that through our scientific genius we've made of the world a neighborhood, but through our moral and spiritual genius we've failed to make of it a brotherhood. more...

A third reason why we should love our enemies is that love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. We never get rid of an enemy by meeting hate with hate; we get rid of an enemy by getting rid of enmity. By its very nature, hate destroys and tears down; by its very nature, love creates and builds up. Love transforms with redemptive power. more...

I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism. more...

Science keeps religion from sinking into the valley of crippling irrationalism and paralyzing obscurantism. Religion prevents science from falling into the marsh of obsolete materialism and moral nihilism. more...

Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you've depended on more than half the world. This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren't going to have peace on Earth until we recognize the basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality. more...

It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless. more...

It is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o'clock on Sunday morning. more...

I judge people by their own principles..not by my own more...

Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. more...

I choose to identify with the underprivileged, I choose to give my life for the hungry, I choose to give my life for those who have been left out of the sunlight of opportunity . . . this is the way I'm going. If it means suffering, I'm going that way. If it means dying for them, I'm going that way, because I heard a voice saying DO SOMETHING FOR OTHERS. more...

When you cut facilities, slash jobs, abuse power, discriminate, drive people into deeper poverty & shoot people dead whilst refusing to provide answers or justice, the people will rise up & express their anger & frustration if you refuse to hear their cries. A riot is the language of the unheard. more...

Without hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. So we must help time and realize that the time is always ripe to do right. more...

You have to keep moving forward more...

The reason I can't follow the old eye-for-an-eye philosophy is that it ends up leaving everyone blind. more...

I would rather be a man of conviction than a man of conformity more...

No one is free until we are all free. more...

My mommy always said there were no monsters - no real ones - but there are. more...

Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles; Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances. more...

A piece of freedom is no longer enough for human beings...unlike bread, a slice of liberty does not finish hunger. Freedom is like life. It cannot be had in installments. Freedom is indivisible-we have it all, or we are not free. more...

The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. more...

Education without social action is a one-sided value because it has no true power potential. more...

When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. more...

Every man is somebody because he is a child of God. more...

Injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere. more...

Love is the only creative, redemptive, transforming power, in the universe. more...

Brutality was imprisoned in a lumious glare revealing the naked truth to the whole world more...

I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective - the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income. more...

If your opponent has a conscience, then follow Gandhi and nonviolence. But if your enemy has no conscience like Hitler, then follow Bonhoeffer. more...

If an American is concerned only about his nation, he will not be concerned about the peoples of Asia, Africa, or South America. Is this not why nations engage in the madness of war without the slightest sense of penitence? Is this not why the murder of a citizen of your own nation is a crime, but the murder of citizens of another nation in war is an act of heroic virtue? more...

In our society, it is psychological murder to deprive a man of a job...you are in substance saying to that man "You have no right to exist. more...

The non-violent resistor not only avoids external, physical violence, but he avoids internal violence of spirit. He not only refuses to shoot his opponent, but he refuses to hate him. And he stands with understanding, goodwill at all times. more...

Unless you have found something in life to live for that is more important to you than your own life, you will always be a slave. For all another man needs to do is threaten to take your life to get you to do his bidding. more...

The human heart is like a ship on a stormy sea driven about by winds blowing from all four corners of heaven. more...

My uncertainty disappeared. Segregation is evil, and I cannot, as a minister, condone evil. more...

I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture of their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive goodwill will proclaim the rule of the land. more...

The job of the school is to teach so well that family background is no longer an issue. more...

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? more...

I just want to leave a committed life behind. more...

While the question of who killed President Kennedy is important, the question 'what killed him' is more important. more...

But by all means, keep moving. more...

People are often led to causes and often become committed to great ideas through persons who personify those ideas. They have to find the embodiment of the idea in flesh and blood in order to commit themselves to it. more...

There's something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies. more...

There is within human nature an amazing potential for goodness. more...

And I say to you, I have decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind's problems. And I'm going to talk about it everywhere I go. For I have seen too much hate... every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces and their personalities, and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love. more...

The beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold. more...

In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified.... All three were crucified for the same crime-the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists. more...

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter - but beautiful - struggle for a new world. more...

Capital punishment is against the best judgment of modern criminology and, above all, against the highest expression of love in the nature of God. more...

The SILENCE of the good people is more DANGEROUS than the BRUTALITY of the bad people more...

So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind - it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact - I can only submit to the edict of others. more...

Courage faces fear and thereby masters it. Cowardice represses fear and is thereby mastered by it. more...

Faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. more...

Three hundred years of humiliation, abuse and deprivation cannot be expected to find voice in a whisper. more...

Power is the ability to achieve purpose. more...

Even if I were certain that the world would end tomorrow, I would plant a tree this very day more...

When any society says that I cannot marry a certain person, that society has cut off a segment of my freedom, more...

Procrastinatio n is still the thief of time. more...

Justice too long delayed is justice denied. more...

I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate, adding deeper darkness to a night that is already void of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. more...

It's not the violence of the few that scares me, it's the silence of the many more...

Peace is not simply the absence of conflict, but the existence of justice for all people. more...

Make a career of humanity... It will enrich your spirit as nothing else possibly can. It will give you that rare sense of nobility that can only spring from love and selflessly helping your fellow man... You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in. more...

We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. more...

Each one of us has the power to make others feel better or worse. Making others feel better is much more fun than making others feel worse. Making others feel better generally makes us feel better more...

And so we shall have to do more than register and more than vote; we shall have to create leaders who embody virtues we can respect, who have moral and ethical principles we can applaud with enthusiasm. more...

The labor movement was the principal force that transforme-d misery and despair into hope and progress. more...

Love is creative and redemptive. Love builds up and unites; hate tears down and destroys. The aftermath of the 'fight with fire' method...is bitterness and chaos, the aftermath of the love method is reconciliation and creation of the beloved community...Yes , love-which means understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill, even for one's enemies-is the solution more...

But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: 'Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.' more...

Music is the best consolation for a despaired man more...

Without God, all of our efforts turn to ashes and our sunrise into the darkest of nights. more...

Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the civil rights movement would not have been as successful as it has been. more...

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence... Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. more...

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that a system that produces beggars needs to be repaved. We are called to be the Good Samaritan, but after you lift so many people out of the ditch you start to ask, maybe the whole road to Jericho needs to be repaved. more...

The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice. more...

We must learn that to expect God to do everything while we do nothing is not faith but superstition. more...

Somebody must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and the chain of evil in the universe. And you do that by love more...

Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. more...

Jesus reminds us that the good life combines the toughness of the serpent and the tenderness of the dove. To have serpent-like qualities devoid of dovelike qualities is to be passionless, mean, and selfish. To have dovelike without serpent-like qualities is to be sentimental, anemic and aimless. We must combine strongly marked antitheses. more...

A true revolution of values will see that the western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. more...

I choose to give my life for those who have been left out of the sunlight of opportunity more...

Freedom only comes through persistent revolt, through persistent agitation, through persistently rising up against the system of evil. more...

Love even for enemies is the key to the solution of the problems of our world. more...

Worship is as natural to the human family as the sing of the sun is to the cosmic order. more...

Education without morals is like a ship without a compass, merely wandering nowhere. more...

Don't let anybody take your manhood. more...

As long as the mind is enslaved, the body can never be free. more...

There is nothing but a lack of social vision to prevent us from paying an adequate wage to every American citizen whether he be a hospital worker, laundry worker, maid or day laborer more...

It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not be in favor of justice for all people. more...

Never, never be afraid to do what's right. more...

God made the world from nothing, and if we can be nothing, then God can make something of us. more...

But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars. more...

Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. more...

Perhaps the worst sin in life is knowing right and not doing it. more...

Some things are right, whether nobody sees you doing them or not. more...

Is your heart right? If your heart isn't right, fix it up today. more...

When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism. more...

Don't allow anybody to make you feel that you're nobody. more...

I am convinced that...in the struggle for righteousness man has cosmic companionship. more...

The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old age pensions, government relief for the destitute, and, above all, new wage levels that meant not mere survival but a tolerable life. more...

You can't reach good ends through evil means, because the means represent the seed and the end represents the tree. more...

I was in the kitchen drinking coffee when I heard Coretta cry, "Martin, Martin, come quickly!" I put down my cup and ran toward the living room. As I approached the front window Coretta pointed joyfully to a slowly moving bus: "Darling, it's empty! more...

One of these days I'm going to put my body where my mind is. more...

I've seen too much hate to want to hate, myself. more...

Nothing pains some people more than having to think more...

A social movement that only moves people is merely a revolt. A movement that changes both people and institutions is a revolution. more...

This Revolution is genuine because it was born from the same womb that always gives birth to massive social upheavals - the womb of intolerable conditions and unendurable situations. more...

One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them. more...

In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as 'right-to-work.' It provides no 'rights' and no 'works.' Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining.... We demand this fraud be stopped. more...

We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free market capitalism for the poor. more...

One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ' an unjust law is no law at all. more...

Violence never really deals with the basic evil of the situation. Violence may murder the murderer, but it doesn't murder murder. Violence may murder the liar, but it doesn't murder lie; it doesn't establish truth. Violence may even murder the dishonest man, but it doesn't murder dishonesty. Violence may go to the point of murdering the hater, but it doesn't murder hate. It may increase hate. It is always a descending spiral leading nowhere. This is the ultimate weakness of violence: It multiplies evil and violence in the universe. It doesn't solve any problems. more...

Worship at its best is a social experience with people of all levels of life coming together to realize their oneness and unity under God. Whenever the church, consciously or unconsciously caters to one class it loses the spiritual force of the "whosoever will, let him come, doctrine and is in danger of becoming a little more than a social club with a thin veneer of religiosity. more...

Violence brings only temporary victories; violence, by creating many more social problems than it solves, never brings permanent peace. more...

Science investigates, religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power, religion gives man wisdom which is control. Science deals mainly with facts, religion deals with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary. Science keeps religion from singing into the valley of crippling irrationalism and paralyzingly obscurantism. Religion prevents science from falling into the marsh of obsolete materialism and moral nihilism. more...

Violence never really deals with the basic evil of the situation. Violence may murder the murderer, but it doesn't murder murder. Violence may murder the liar, but it doesn't murder lie; it doesn't establish truth. Violence may even murder the dishonest man, but it doesn't murder dishonesty. Violence may go to the point of murdering the hater, but it doesn't murder hate. It may increase hate. It is always a descending spiral leading nowhere. This is the ultimate weakness of violence: It multiplies evil and violence in the universe. It doesn't solve any problems. more...

The difference between a dreamer and a visionary is that a dreamer has his eyes closed and a visionary has his eyes open more...

And violence is impractical, because the old eye for an eye philosophy ends up leaving everybody blind .. It is immoral because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for everybody. Means and ends are inseparable. The means represent the ideal in the making; in the long run of history destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends. more...

Whatever your life's work is, do it well. more...

The time has come for an all-out war against poverty. The rich nations must use their vast resources of wealth to develop the underdeveloped, school the unschooled, and feed the unfed. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for "the least of these". more...

I cannot make myself believe that God wanted me to hate. I'm tired of violence, I've seen too much of it. I've seen such hate on the faces of too many sheriffs in the South. And I'm not going to let my oppressor dictate to me what method I must use. Our oppressors have used violence. Our oppressors have used hatred. Our oppressors have used rifles and guns. I'm not going to stoop down to their level. I want to rise to a higher level. We have a power that can't be found in Molotov cocktails. more...

Hate is just as injurious to the hater as it is to the hated. Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Many of our inner conflicts are rooted in hate. This is why the psychiatrists say, "Love or perish." Hate is too great a burden to bear. more...

I came to the conclusion that there is an existential moment in your life when you must decide to speak for yourself; nobody else can speak for you. more...

We should never forget that everything Adolph Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighers did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. more...

Unity has never meant uniformity. more...

The surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others. more...

The soft-minded man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo, and he has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest pain is the pain of a new idea. more...

What is more tragic than to see a person who has risen to the disciplined heights of tough-mindedness but has at the same time sunk to the passionless depths of hard-heartedness? more...

If you have not discovered something you are willing to die for, then you are not fit to live. more...

The richer we have become materially, the poorer we become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers. more...

We cannot walk alone. more...

The only weapon that we have in our hands this evening is the weapon of protest. That's all. more...

Even if they try to kill you, you develop the inner conviction that there are some things so precious, some things so eternally true that they are worth dying for. And if a person has not found something to die for, that person isn't fit to live! more...

The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. more...

When I am angry I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understanding sharpened, and all mundane vexations and temptations depart. more...

If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos. more...

Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification. more...

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 more...

Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated. more...

Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude. That which I was not but could have been. That which I would have done but did not do. Can I find the fortitude to remember in truth,to understand, to submit, to forgive and to be free to move on in time? more...

In spite of the fact that the law of revenge solves no social problems, men continue to follow its disastrous leading. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path. more...

If the cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. Because the goal of America is freedom, abused and scorned tho' we may be, our destiny is tied up with America's destiny. more...

In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. more...

From the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire, let freedom ring. From the mighty mountains of New York, let freedom ring. From the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania, let freedom ring. But not only that: Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. more...

We need not join the mad rush to purchase an earthly fallout shelter. God is our eternal fallout shelter. From Strength to Love, 1963 more...

History has thrust something upon me from which I cannot turn away. more...

Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve. more...

We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that we will be able to make of this old world a new world. We will be able to make men better. Love is the only way. more...

Love is the supreme unifying principle of life. more...

Love is understanding, redemptive goodwill for all men, so that you love everybody. more...

Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system. more...

But there is another way. And that is to organize mass non-violent resistance based on the principle of love. It seems to me that this is the only way as our eyes look to the future. As we look out across the years and across the generations, let us develop and move right here. We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that we will be able to make of this old world a new world. We will be able to make men better. Love is the only way. more...

Agape is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it's what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of men. And when you rise to love on this level, you begin to love men, not because they are likeable, but because God loves them. more...

Love is understanding, redemptive goodwill for all men, so that you love everybody, because God loves them. You refuse to do anything that will defeat an individual, because you have agape in your soul. And here you come to the point that you love the individual who does the evil deed, while hating the deed that the person does. This is what Jesus means when he says, "Love your enemy." This is the way to do it. When the opportunity presents itself when you can defeat your enemy, you must not do it. more...

We can no longer afford to worship the God of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. Love is the key to the solution of the problems of the world. more...

Love is basic for the very survival of mankind. I'm convinced that love is the only absolute ultimately; love is the highest good. He who loves has somehow discovered the meaning of ultimate reality. He who hates does not know God; he who hates has no knowledge of God. Love is the supreme unifying principle of life. more...

Jazz speaks for life. This is triumphant music. more...

Our age is one of guided missiles and unguided men. more...

If you want to move people, it has to be toward a vision that's positive for them, that taps important values, that gets them something they desire and it has to be presented in a compelling way so that they feel inspired to follow. more...

"I criticize America because I love her. I want her to stand as a moral example to the world." more...

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. more...

One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory. more...

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. more...

Loving Your Enemies... Far from being the pious injunction of a utopian dreamer, this demand is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. Yes it is love that will save our world and civilization; love even for our enemies. more...

Many men cry Peace! Peace! but they refuse to do the things that make for peace. more...

Somehow we must transform the dynamics of the world power struggle from the negative nuclear arms race which no one can win to a positive contest to harness man's creative genius for the purpose of making peace and prosperity a reality for all of the nations of the world. more...

We must shift the arms race into a 'peace race'. more...

One of the most persistent ambiguities that we face is that everybody talks about peace as a goal. However, it does not take sharpest-eyed sophistication to discern that while everbody talks about peace, peace has become practically nobody's business among the power-wielders. Many men cry Peace! Peace! but they refuse to do the things that make for peace. more...

We still have a choice today: nonviolence coesistence or violent coannihilation. more...

I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism. more...

We must recognize that we can't solve our problems now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power.... a radical restructuring of the architecture of American society. more...

Our nettlesome task is to discover how to organize our strength into compelling power. more...

We have moved into an era where we are called upon to raise certain basic questions about the whole society. We are still called upon to give aid to the beggar who finds himself in misery and agony on life's highway. But one day, we must ask the question of whether an edifice which produces beggars must not be restructured and refurbished. more...

We aren't going to let any mace stop us. We are masters in our nonviolent movement in disarming police forces; they don't know what to do. more...

Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political and economic change. more...

Courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear. more...

We may win a battle, but if in doing so we have planted thousands of seeds of hatred and fear..the war is not over- only the present conflict has ceased. There will be no peace as long as we react to violence with violence. more...

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our present policies... True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. A true revolution of values will soon look on uneasily upon the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth with righteous indignation. more...

We can walk through the darkest night with the radiant conviction that all things work together for the good. more...

When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. more...

The best way to solve any problem is to remove its cause. more...

We are out to defeat injustice and not white persons who may be unjust. more...

Being a Negro in America means trying to smile when you want to cry. It means trying to hold on to physical life amid psychological death. It means the pain of watching your children grow up with clouds of inferiority in their mental skies. It means having their legs off, and then being condemned for being a cripple. more...

Each of us is something of a schizophrenic personality, tragically divided against ourselves. more...

We must have the faith that things will work out somehow, that God will make a way for us when there seems no way. more...

The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers. more...

Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be the first in love. I want you to be the first in moral excellence. I want you to be the first in generosity. more...

You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. more...

In any civilized society, it is every citizen's responsibility to obey just laws. But at the same time, it is every citizen's responsibility to disobey unjust laws. more...

Jesus Christ was an extremist for love, truth and goodness. more...

He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lives a great street-sweeper who did his job well' more...

These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest. more...

America must begin the struggle for democracy at home. The advocacy of free elections in Europe by American officials is hypocrisy when free elections are not held in great sections of America. more...

A society is always eager to cover misdeeds with a cloak of forgetfulness, but no society can fully repress an ugly past when the ravages persist into the present. America owes a debt of justice which it has only begun to pay. more...

We have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifices. Capitalism was built on the exploitation of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor, both black and white, both here and abroad. more...

All life is interrelated. The agony of the poor impoverishes the rich; the betterment of the poor enriches the rich. We are inevitably our brother's keeper because we are our brother's brother. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. more...

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice. more...

We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And he's allowed me to go up to the mountaintop. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. more...

We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers and sisters. more...

We aren't engaged in any negative protest and in any negative arguments with anybody. We are saying that we are determined to be men. We are determined to be people. We are saying that we are God's children. And that we don't have to live like we are forced to live. more...

When people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory. more...

For all of us today, the battle is in our hands. The road ahead is not altogether a smooth one. There are no broad highways to lead us easily and inevitably to quick solutions. We must keep going. more...

I think that my strong determination for justice comes from the very strong, dynamic personality of my father ... I have rarely ever met a person more fearless and courageous than my father ... The thing that I admire most about my dad is his genuine Christian character. He is a man of real integrity, deeply committed to moral and ethical principles. He is conscientious in all of his undertakings ... If I had a problem I could always call Daddy. more...

We must pursue peaceful end through peaceful means. more...

The bombs in Vietnam explode at home; they destroy the hopes and possibilities for a decent America. more...

I have condemned any organizer of war, regardless of his rank or nationality. more...

I still believe that standing up for the truth of God is the greatest thing in the world. This is the end (purpose) of life. The end of life is not to be happy. The end of life is not to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. The end of life is to do the will of God, come what may. more...

What good does it do to sit at the counter when you cannot afford a hamburger? more...

I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see. I sought my God, but my God eluded me. I sought my brother and I found all three ... more...

I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind's problems. And I'm going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn't popular to talk about it in some circles today. I'm not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love, I'm talking about a strong, demanding love. more...

It is a tragic mix-up when the United States spends 500,000 for every enemy soldier killed, and only 53 annually on the victims of poverty. more...

Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism and militarism...We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today and we are faced with the fierce urgency of now. more...

For you all think God is one who rewards good and punishes evil, but I say to you that God is one who loves you and has compassion for everyone. You just have to pray to Him and believe in Him. He will always be your guiding light. more...

At times, life is hard, as hard as crucible steel. It has its bleak and painful moments. Like the ever flowing water of a river, life has its moments of drought and its moments of flood. Like the ever-changin cycle of the seasons, life has the soothing warmth of the summers and the piercing chill of its winters. But through it all, God walks with us. Never forget that God is able to lift you from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope, and transform dark and desolate valleys into sunlit paths of inner peace. more...

the universe is under the control of a loving purpose, and that in the struggle for righteousness man has cosmic companionship (angels). Behind the harsh appearance of the world there is a benign power. more...

We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny . . . I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be. more...

Life isn't worth living until you have found something worth dying for. more...

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. Nothing worthwhile is easy. Your ability to overcome unfavorable situations will provide you with time to demonstrate your true strength and determination for success. Always set your standards high, your greatest achievements lie within the infinite feats you achieve in your life. more...

Christianity has always insisted that the cross we bear always precedes the crown we wear. more...

We must combine the toughness of the serpent with the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart. more...

It is precisely because education is the road to equality and citizenship, that it has been made more elusive for Negroes than many other rights. The walling off of Negroes from equal education is part of the historical design to submerge him in second class status. Therefore, as Negroes have struggled to be free they have had to fight for the opportunity for a decent education. more...

The Negro has no room to make any substantial compromises because his store of advantages is too small. He must press unrelentingly for quality, integrated education or his whole drive for freedom will be undermined by the absence of a most vital and indispensable element - learning. more...

The nation is sick; trouble is in the land, confusion all around...But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century. Something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee, the cry is always the same: 'We want to be free.' more...

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. more...

There comes a time when a moral man can't obey a law which his conscience tells him is unjust. more...

Curtailment of free speech is rationalized on grounds that a more compelling American tradition forbids criticism of the government when the nation is at war... Nothing can be more destructive of our fundamental democratic traditions than the vicious effort to silence dissenters. more...

Our goal is to create a beloved community," said Dr. King, "and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives. more...

I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we are moving against wrong when we do it, because John was right, God is love. He who hates does not know God, but he who has love has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality. more...

Hatred darkens life; love illumines it. more...

Communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both. Now, when I say question the whole society, it means ultimately coming to see that the problem of racism, the problem of exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated. more...

Without justice, there can be no peace. more...

The failures of the past must not be an excuse for the inaction of the present and the future. more...

Evil must be attacked by. . . the day to day assault of the battering rams of justice. more...

In our struggle against racial segregation in Montgomery, Alabama, I came to see at a very early stage that a synthesis of Gandhi's method of nonviolence and the Christian ethic of love is the best weapon available to Negroes for this struggle for freedom and human dignity. It may well be that the Gandhian approach will bring about a solution to the race problem in America. His spirit is a continual reminder to oppressed people that it is possible to resist evil and yet not resort to violence. more...

One who condones evils is just as guilty as the one who perpetrates it. more...

In the current struggle, there is one positive course of action. There is no alternative, for the alternative would connote a rear march... more...

In this Revolution, no plans have been written for retreat. Those who will not get into step will find that the parade has passed them by.... more...

By opening our lives to God in Christ, we become new creatures. This experience, which Jesus spoke of as the new birth, is essential if we are to be transformed nonconformists . . . Only through an inner spiritual transformation do we gain the strength to fight vigorously the evils of the world in a humble and loving spirit. more...

In this world is a God whose matchless strength is a fit contrast to the sordid weakness of man. more...

We need to recapture the gospel glow of the early Christians who were nonconformists in the truest sense of the word . . . Their powerful gospel put an end to such barbaric evils as infanticide and bloody gladiatorial contests. Finally, they captured the Roman Empire for Jesus Christ. more...

It's not burn baby burn, but learn, baby, learn, so that you can earn, baby, earn. more...

Do to us what you will, and we will still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and as difficult as it is, we will still love you. But we assured that we'll wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves, we will so appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory. more...

The strong man holds in a living blend strongly marked opposites. The idealists are not usually realistic, and the realists are not usually idealistic. The militant are not generally known to be passive, nor the passive to be militant. Seldom are the humble self-assertive, or the self-assertive humble. But life at it's best is a creative synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony. more...

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. 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. 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. more...

If a person sweeps streets for a living, he should sweep them as Michelangelo painted, as Beethoven composed, as Shakespear wrote. more...

Through violence, you may murder the hater, but you do not murder the hate. more...

The words 'I will forgive you, but I'll never forget what you've done' never explain the real nature of forgiveness. more...

Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. more...

May I stress the need for courageous, intelligent, and dedicated leadership... Leaders of sound integrity. Leaders not in love with publicity, but in love with justice. Leaders not in love with money, but in love with humanity. Leaders who can subject their particular egos to the greatness of the cause. more...

Through our scientific and technological genius we've made of this world a neighborhood. And now through our moral and ethical commitment we must make of it a brotherhood. We must all learn to live together as brothers-or we will all perish together as fools. more...

Great people aren't those who are happy at times of convienience and content, but of how they are in times of catastrophy and controversy. more...

The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. more...

Power at its best is love implementing the demand of justice. more...

Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority. more...

The question is no longer between violence and non-violence it is between non-violence and non-existence. more...

Education without social action is a one-sided value because it has no true power potential. Social action without education is a weak expression of pure energy. Deeds uninformed by educated thought can take false directions. When we go into action and confront our adversaries, we must be as armed with knowledge as they. Our policies should have the strength of deep analysis beneath them to be able to challenge the clever sophistries of our opponents. more...

To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it. more...

Nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. more...

Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love. more...

We did not hesitate to call our movement an army. But it was a special army, with no supplies but its sincerity, no uniform but its determination, no arsenal except its faith, no currency but its conscience. more...

Commit yourself to the noble struggle for human rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country and a finer world to live in. more...

Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one's whole being into the being of another. more...

We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and for justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight. more...

I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of nuclear annihilation... I believe that even amid today's mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow... I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed. more...

World peace through nonviolent means is neither absurd nor unattainable. All other methods have failed. Thus we must begin anew. Nonviolence is a good starting point. Those of us who believe in this method can be voices of reason, sanity, and understanding amid the voices of violence, hatred, and emotion. We can very well set a mood of peace out of which a system of peace can be built. more...

I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism. Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. To return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Someone must have sense enough and religion enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love. more...

In struggling for human dignity the oppressed people of the world must not allow themselves to become bitter or indulge in hate campaigns. To retaliate with hate and bitterness would do nothing but intensify the hate in the world. Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can be done only by projecting the ethics of love to the center of our lives. more...

There are two types of laws: there are just laws and there are unjust laws... What is the difference between the two?...An unjust law is a man-made code that is out of harmony with the moral law. more...

Everybody has the blues. Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy. Everybody longs for faith. In music, especially this broad category called jazz, there is a stepping-stone to all of these. more...

Without love, benevolence becomes egotism. more...

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... In fact, violence merely increases hate. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. more...

What good is having the right to sit at a lunch counter if you can't afford to buy a hamburger? more...

Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness. more...

Moral principles have lost their distinctiveness. For modern man, absolute right and absolute wrong are a matter of what the majority is doing. more...

When our days become dreary with low hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. more...

You have very little morally persuasive power with people who can feel your underlying contempt. more...

... the right to defend one's home and one's person when attacked has been guaranteed through the ages by common law. more...

We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. more...

When we rise in the morning... at the table we drink coffee which is provided to us by a South American, or tea by a Chinese, or cocoa by a West African; before we leave for our jobs we are already beholden to more than half the world. more...

You're as good as anybody. more...

The time has come for America to hear the truth about this tragic war. In international conflicts, the truth is hard to come by because most nations are deceived about themselves. Rationalizations and the incessant search for scapegoats are the psychological cataracts that blind us to our sins. But the day has passed for superficial patriotism. He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery. more...

[nonviolence] seeks to secure moral ends through moral means. more...

True compassion is more than throwing a coin to a beggar. It demands of our humanity that if we live in a society that produces beggars, we are morally commanded to restructure that society. more...

Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. more...

A time comes when silence is betrayal. That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift, is approaching spiritual death.I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor. more...

This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. more...

As long as the mind is enslaved, the body can never be free. Psychological freedom, a firm sense of self-esteem, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery. more...

If I can help somebody as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a word or song, if I can show somebody he's traveling wrong, then my living will not be in vain. more...

They asked if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today-my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent. more...

I firmly believe that the Gandhian philosophy of nonviolent resistance is the only logical and moral approach to the solution of the race problem in the United States. more...

Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change. more...

Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That's the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system. more...

Every man lives in two realms: the internal and the external. The internal is that realm of spiritual ends expressed in art, literature, morals, and religion. The external is that complex of devices, techniques, mechanisms, and instrumentalities by means of which we live. more...

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself. more...

Don't let anybody make you think God chose America as His divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. more...

If I wish to compose or write or pray or preach well, I must be angry. Then all the blood in my veins is stirred, and my understanding is sharpened. more...

I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law. more...

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. more...

A man who won't die for something is not fit to live. more...

A man can't ride your back unless it's bent. more...

If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live. more...

We have guided missiles and misguided men. more...

We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people. more...

White man and black man, jew and gentile, protestant and catholic, will be able to hold hands and sing in the words of the ancient negro spiritual, "Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty! We are free at last!" more...

We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. This may well be mankind's last chance to choose between chaos and community. more...

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our present policies... more...

I just want to do God's will. more...

Right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. more...

Every now and then I think about my own death, and I think about my own funeral. ... Every now and then I ask myself, 'What is it that I want said?' I'd like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I'd like for somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King Jr., tried to love somebody. more...

Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. more...

Religion operates not only on the vertical plane but also on the horizontal. It seeks not only to integrate men with God but to integrate men with men and each man with himself. more...

O America, how you've taken necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes. more...

The contemporary tendency in our society is to base our distribution on scarcity, which has vanished, and to compress our abundance into the overfed mouths of the middle and upper classes until they gag with superfluity. If democracy is to have breadth of meaning, it is necessary to adjust this inequity. It is not only moral, but it is also intelligent. We are wasting and degrading human life by clinging to archaic thinking. more...

We have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. Our minimal expectation is to occupy it as an American colony and maintain social stability for our investments. This tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and Peru. Increasingly the role our nation has taken is the role of those who refuse to give up the privileges and pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment. more...

I don't think you can be in public life without being called bad names. more...

I've always tried to be what I call militantly nonviolent. I don't believe that anyone could seriously accuse me of not being totally committed to the breakdown of segregation. more...

A strong man must be militant as well as moderate. He must be a realist as well as an idealist. more...

Nonviolence is a powerful as well as a just weapon. If you confront a man who has long been cruelly misusing you, and say, "Punish me, if you will; I do not deserve it, but I will accept it, so that the world will know I am right and you are wrong," then you wield a powerful and a just weapon. This man, your oppressor, is automatically morally defeated, and if he has any conscience, he is ashamed. more...

I never cease to wonder at the amazing presumption of much of white society, assuming that they have the right to bargain with the Negro for his freedom. more...

What the Negro wants - and will not stop until he gets - is absolute and unqualified freedom and equality here in this land of his birth, and not in Africa or in some imaginary state. The Negro no longer will be tolerant of anything less than his due right and heritage. He is pursuing only that which he knows is honorably his. He knows that he is right. more...

I feel that the time is always right to do what is right. Where progress for the Negro in America is concerned, there is a tragic misconception of time among whites. They seem to cherish a strange, irrational notion that something in the very flow of time will cure all ills. more...

Time has been used destructively by people of ill will much more than it has been used constructively by those of good will. more...

If I were constantly worried about death, I couldn't function. After a while, if your life is more or less constantly in peril, you come to a point where you accept the possibility philosophically. more...

I must face the fact, as all others in positions of leadership must do, that America today is an extremely sick nation, and that something could well happen to me at any time. I feel, though, that my cause is so right, so moral, that if I should lose my life, in some way it would aid the cause. more...

Segregation, as even the segregationists know in their hearts, is morally wrong and sinful. If it weren't, the white South would not be haunted as it is by a deep sense of guilt for what it has done to the Negro - guilt for patronizing him, degrading him, brutalizing him, depersonalizing him, thingifying him; guilt for lying to itself. This is the source of the schizophrenia that the South will suffer until it goes through its crisis of conscience. more...

White Americans must be made to understand the basic motives underlying Negro demonstrations. Many pent-up resentments and latent frustrations are boiling inside the Negro, and he must release them. It is not a threat but a fact of history that if an oppressed people's pent-up emotions are not nonviolently released, they will be violently released. more...

Let the Negro march. Let him make pilgrimages to city hall. Let him go on freedom rides. And above all, make an effort to understand why he must do this. For if his frustration and despair are allowed to continue piling up, millions of Negroes will seek solace and security in black-nationalist ideologies. And this, inevitably, would lead to a frightening racial nightmare. more...

The unemployed, poverty-stricken white man must be made to realize that he is in the very same boat with the Negro. Together, they could exert massive pressure on the government to get jobs for all. Together, they could form a grand alliance. Together, they could merge all people for the good of all. more...

There is no truth to the myth that Negroes depreciate property. The fact is that most Negroes are kept out of residential neighborhoods so long that when one of us is finally sold a home, it's already depreciated. more...

We must dispel the negative and harmful atmosphere that has been created by avaricious and unprincipled realtors who engage in "blockbusting." If we had in America really serious efforts to break down discrimination in housing, and at the same time a concerted program of government aid to improve housing for Negroes, I think that many white people would be surprised at how many Negroes would choose to live among themselves, exactly as Poles and Jews and other ethnic groups do. more...

I question and soul-search constantly into myself to be as certain as I can that I am fulfilling the true meaning of my work, that I am maintaining my sense of purpose, that I am holding fast to my ideals, that I am guiding my people in the right direction. more...

Whatever my doubts, however heavy the burden, I feel that I must accept the task of helping to make this nation and this world a better place to live in - for all men, black and white alike. more...

Our lives are not fully lived if we're not willing to die for those we love, for what we believe. more...

And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity. more...

In spite of its glowing talk about the welfare of the masses, Communism's methods and philosophy strip man of his dignity and worth, leaving him as little more than a depersonalized cog in the ever-turning wheel of the state. more...

Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship. Forgiveness is a catalyst creating the atmosphere necessary for a fresh start and a new beginning. more...

It's wrong to hate. It always has been wrong and it always will be wrong. It's wrong in America, it's wrong in Germany, it's wrong in Russia, it's wrong in China. It was wrong in 2000 B.C., and it's wrong in 1954 A.D. It always has been wrong, and it always will be wrong. more...

Hate destroys the very structure of the personality of the hater.... when you start hating anybody, it destroys the very center of your creative response to life and the universe; so love everybody. more...

The great military leaders of the past have gone, their empires have crumbled and burned to ashes. But the empire of Jesus, built solidly and majestically on the foundation of love, is still growing. more...

Every genuine expression of love grows out of a consistent and total surrender to God. more...

Even in the inevitable moments when all seems hopeless, men know that without hope they cannot really live, and in agonizing desperation they cry for the bread of hope. more...

I feel that non-violence is really the only way that we can follow because violence is just so self-defeating. A riot ends up creating many more problems for the negro community than it solved. We can through violence burn down a building, but you can't establish justice. You can murder a murderer, but you can't murder murder through violence. You can murder a hater, but you can't murder hate. And what we're trying to get rid of is hate, injustice, and all of these other things that continue the long night of man's inhumanity to man. more...

When a nation becomes obsessed with the guns of war, it loses its social perspective.... There is something about a war like this that makes people insensitive. It dulls the conscience. It strengthens the forces of reaction, and it brings into being bitterness and hatred and violence. more...

Within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals. more...

We come humbly to say to the men in the forefront of our government that the civil rights issue is not an Ephemeral, evanescent domestic issue that can be kicked about by reactionary guardians of the status quo; it is rather an eternal moral issue which may well determine the destiny of our nation in the ideological struggle with communism. The hour is late. The clock of destiny is ticking out. We must act now, before it is too late. more...

It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. more...

I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic. And yet I am not so opposed to capitalism that I have failed to see its relative merits. It started out with a noble and high motive, to block the trade monopolies of nobles, but like most human systems it falls victim to the very thing it was revolting against. So today capitalism has outlived its usefulness. It has brought about a system that takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes. more...

I have a dream... I have a dream today... And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. more...

Injustice and corruption will never be transformed by keeping them hidden, but only by bringing them out into the light and confronting them with the power of love. more...

Today we know with certainty that segregation is dead. The only question remaining is how costly will be the funeral. more...

The majority of the Negroes who took part in the year-long boycott of Montgomery's buses were poor and untutored; but they understood the essence of the Montgomery movement; one elderly woman summed it up for the rest. When asked after several weeks of walking whether she was tired, she answered: "My feet is tired, but my soul is at rest. more...

Even when the polls are open to all, Negroes have shown themselves too slow to exercise their voting privileges. There must be a concerted effort on the part of Negro leaders to arouse their people from their apathetic indifference.... In the past, apathy was a moral failure. Today, it is a form of moral and political suicide. more...

As I like to say to the people in Montgomery: "The tension in this city is not between white people and Negro people. The tension is, at bottom, between justice and injustice, between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. more...

There is such a thing as the freedom of exhaustion. Some people are so worn down by the yoke of oppression that they give up.... The oppressed must never allow the conscience of the oppressor to slumber.... To accept injustice or segregation passively is to say to the oppressor that his actions are morally right. more...

I will always remember my delight when Mrs. Georgia Gilmore - an unlettered woman of unusual intelligence - told how an operator demanded that she get off the bus after paying her fare and board it again by the back door, and then drove away before she could get there. She turned to Judge Carter and said: "When they count the money, they do not know Negro money from white money. more...

The problem with hatred and violence is that they intensity the fears of the white majority, and leave them less ashamed of their prejudices toward Negroes. more...

[W]e are the heirs of a past of rope, fire, and murder. I for one am not ashamed of this past. My shame is for those who became so inhuman that they could inflict this torture upon us. more...

When the Negro was completely an underdog, he needed white spokesmen. Liberals played their parts in this period exceedingly well.... But now that the Negro has rejected his role as an underdog, he has become more assertive in his search for identity and group solidarity; he wants to speak for himself. more...

As television beamed the image of this extraordinary gathering across the border oceans, everyone who believed in man's capacity to better himself had a moment of inspiration and confidence in the future of the human race. more...

[I]t must be emphasized that nonviolent resistance is not a method for cowards; it does resist. If one uses this method because he is afraid or merely because he lacks the instruments of violence, he is not truly nonviolent. This is why Gandhi often said that if cowardice is the only alternative to violence, it is better to fight. more...

A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up the state's segregation laws was democratically elected? more...

I would be the last to condemn the thousands of sincere and dedicated people outside the churches who have labored unselfishly through various humanitarian movements to cure the world of social evils, for I would rather a man be a committed humanist than an uncommitted Christian. more...

Will we march only to the music of time, or will we, risking criticism and abuse, march to the soul-saving music of eternity? more...

When Negroes looked for the second phase, the realization of equality, they found that many of their white allies had quietly disappeared.... To stay murder is not the same thing as to ordain brotherhood. more...

Black Power alone is no more insurance against social injustice than white power. more...

In the final analysis the weakness of Black Power is its failure to see that the black man needs the white man and the white man needs the black man. more...

I still have a dream today that one day war will come to an end, that men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, that nations will no longer rise up against nations, neither will they study war any more. more...

We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. more...

As a teenager I had never been able to accept the fact of having to go to the back of a bus or sit in the segregated section of a train. The first time I had been seated behind a curtain in a dining car, I felt as if the curtain had been dropped on my selfhood. more...

It was argued that the Negro was inferior by nature because of Noah's curse upon the children of Ham.... The greatest blasphemy of the whole ugly process was that the white man ended up making God his partner in the exploitation of the Negro. more...

[E]very human life is a reflection of divinity, and... every act of injustice mars and defaces the image of God in man. more...

Unfortunately, most of the major denominations still practice segregation in local churches, hospitals, schools, and other church institutions. It is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o'clock on Sunday morning, the same hour when many are standing to sing: "In Christ There Is No East Nor West. more...

We were all involved in the death of John Kennedy. We tolerated hate; we tolerated the sick stimulation of violence in all walks of life; and we tolerated the differential application of law, which said that a man's life was sacred only if we agreed with his views. more...

President Lyndon Johnson's high spirits were marked as he circulated among the many guests whom he had invited to witness an event he confidently felt to be historic, the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.... The bill that lay on the polished mahogany desk was born in violence in Selma, Alabama, where a stubborn sheriff... had stumbled against the future. more...

Liberalism provided me with an intellectual satisfaction that I never found in fundamentalism. I became so enamored of the insights of liberalism that I almost fell into the trap of accepting uncritically everything it encompassed. more...

Nonviolent resistance makes it possible for the Negro to remain in the South and struggle for his rights. The Negro's problem will not be solved by running away. more...

We talk eloquently about our commitment to the principles of Christianity, and yet our lives are saturated with the practices of paganism. We proclaim our devotion to democracy, but we sadly practice the very opposite of the democratic creed.... This strange dichotomy, this agonizing gulf between the ought and the is, represents the tragic theme of man's earthly pilgrimage. more...

The Christian faith makes it possible for us nobly to accept that which cannot be changed, and to meet disappointments and sorrow with an inner poise, and to absorb the most intense pain without abandoning our sense of hope. more...

I" cannot reach fulfillment without "thou." The self cannot be self without other selves. Self-concern without other-concern is like a tributary that has no outward flow to the ocean. more...

The poor in our countries have been shut out of our minds and driven from the mainstream of our societies, because we have allowed them to become invisible. more...

Without denying the value of scientific endeavor, there is a striking absurdity in committing billions to reach the moon where no people live, while only a fraction of that amount is appropriated to service the densely populated slums. more...

But while so many white Americans are unaware of conditions inside the ghetto, there are very few ghetto dwellers who are unaware of the life outside. The television sets bombard them day by day with the opulence of the larger society. more...

Millions of citizens are deeply disturbed that the military-industrial complex too often shapes national policy, but they do not want to be considered unpatriotic. more...

Black Power is a nihilistic philosophy born out of the conviction that the Negro can't win... the view that American society is so hopelessly corrupt and enmeshed in evil that there is no possibility of salvation from within. more...

Let us say boldly, that if the total slum violations of law by the white man over the years were calculated and compared with the lawbreaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man. more...

There may have been a time when war served as a negative good by preventing the spread and growth of an evil force, but the destructive power of modern weapons eliminates even the possibility that war may serve as a negative good. more...

A world war - God forbid! - will leave only smoldering ashes as a mute testimony of a human race whose folly led inexorably to untimely death. Yet there are those who sincerely feel that disarmament is an evil and international negotiation is an abominable waste of time. more...

But alas! Science cannot now rescue us, for even the scientist is lost in the terrible midnight of our age. Indeed, science gave us the very instruments that threaten to bring universal suicide. more...

If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the hopes of men the world over. more...

It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch-antirevolutionaries. more...

Ordinarily, a person leaving a courtroom with a conviction behind him would wear a somber face. But I left with a smile. I knew that I was a convicted criminal, but I was proud of my crime. more...

The sooner our society admits that the Negro Revolution is no momentary outburst soon to subside into placid passivity, the easier the future will be for us all. more...

War is the greatest plague that can afflict mankind... Any scourge is preferable to it. more...

If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, Maybe I could understand some of these illegal injunctions. ... But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right. more...

Make no mistake about those who call themselves anti Zionist are anti Semitic. more...

Lord help me to see M. L. King as M. L. King in his true perspective. more...

Truth crushed to earth will rise again. more...

Returning hate for hate multiplies hate... more...

Israel... is one of the great outpost of democracy in the world more...

My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring. more...

In Christ there is no East nor West. more...

Be true to what you said on paper. more...

Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. more...

We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. more...

We must have our freedom now. We must have the right to vote. We must have equal protection of the law. more...

Segregation...not only harms one physically but injures one spiritually...It scars the soul...It is a system which forever stares the segregated in the face, saying 'You are less than...'You are not equal to...' more...

I could never adjust to the separate waiting rooms, separate eating places, separate rest rooms, partly because the separate was always unequal, and partly because the very idea of separation did something to my sense of dignity and self-respect. more...

I've been to the Mountaintop more...

The great issue of life is to harness the drum major instinct. more...

Sooner or later, all the peoples of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. more...

Don't ever let anyone pull you so low as to hate them. We must use the weapon of love. We must have the compassion and understanding for those who hate us. We must realize so many people are taught to hate us that they are not totally responsible for their hate. But we stand in life at midnight; we are always on the threshold of a new dawn. more...

I have come to see more and more that one of the most decisive steps that the Negro can take is that little walk to the voting booth. That is an important step. We've got to gain the ballot, and through that gain, political power. more...

We have no alternative but to protest. For many years we have shown an amazing patience... But we come here tonight to be saved from that patience that makes us patient with anything less than freedom and justice. more...

The end of violence or the aftermath of violence is bitterness. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation and the creation of a beloved community. A boycott is never an end within itself. It is merely a means to awaken a sense of shame within the oppressor but the end is reconciliation, the end is redemption. more...

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men - yes, black men as well as white men - would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness... America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked 'insufficient funds.' more...

I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. more...

Life's most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others? Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. more...

Normal fear protects us; abnormal fear paralyses us. Normal fear motivates us to improve our individual and collective welfare; abnormal fear constantly poisons and distorts our inner lives. Our problem is not to be rid of fear but, rather to harness and master it. more...

Carve a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment. more...

I may not be the man I want to be; I may not be the man I ought to be; I may not be the man I could be; I may not be the man I truly can be; but praise God, I'm not the man I once was more...

I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way our world is made. No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent, we are interdependent. more...

Freedom has always been an expensive thing. History is fit testimony to the fact that freedom is rarely gained without sacrifice and self-denial. more...

This is the great new problem of mankind. We have inherited a large house, a great 'world house' in which we have to live together- black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Muslim and Hindu- a family unduly separated in ideas, culture and interest, who, because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace. more...

Many white Americans of good will have never connected bigotry with economic exploitation. They have deplored prejudice but tolerated or ignored economic injustice. more...

Too often an institution serves to bless the majority opinion. Today when too many move to the rhythmic beat of the status quo, whoever would be a Christian must be a nonconformist. more...

We as Christians have a mandate to be nonconformists. more...

My faith in man is, at bottom, a faith in God. more...

He (Jesus) knew that the old eye-for-eye philosophy would leave everyone blind. He did not seek to overcome evil with evil. He overcame evil with good. Although crucified by hate, he responded with aggressive love. more...

The hope of the world is still in dedicated minorities. The trail-blazers in human, scientific and religious freedom have always been in a minority. more...

The modern choice is between non-violence or non-existence. more...

My place is in the sunlight of opportunity. more...

I may be crucified for my beliefs and, if I am, you can say, "He died to make men free. more...

I know that God is not going to willfully hurt us. Why there is suffering is the business of the Lord, but He never seems to give us more than we can bear. more...

God has given each normal person a capacity to achieve some end. True, some are endowed with more talent than others, but God has left none of us talentless. more...

There are more Negroes in jail with me than there are on the voting rolls. more...

To deny a man a job is to say that a man has no right to exist. more...

There's another reason why you should love your enemies, and that is because hate distorts the personality of the hater. We usually think of what hate does for the individual hated or the individuals hated or the groups hated. But it is even more tragic, it is even more ruinous and injurious to the individual who hates. ... For the person who hates, the true becomes false and the false becomes true. That's what hate does. more...

Life's piano can only produce melodies of brotherhood (and sisterhood) when it is recognized that the black keys are as basic, necessary and beautiful as the white keys. more...

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was seen sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar because a higher moral law was involved. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks, before submitting to certain unjust laws of the Roman empire. more...

The spirit of Lincoln still lives; that spirit born of the teachings of the Nazarene, who promised mercy to the merciful, who lifted the lowly, strengthened the weak, ate with publicans, and made the captives free. In the light of this divine example, the doctrines of demagogues shiver in their chaff. more...

We cannot be truly Christian people so long as we flaunt the central teachings of Jesus: brotherly love and the Golden Rule. more...

Most of these people will never make the headlines and their names will not appear in Who's Who. Yet when years have rolled past and when the blazing light of truth is focused on this marvelous age in which we live - men and women will know and children will be taught that we have a finer land, a better people, a more noble civilization - because these humble children of God were willing to suffer for righteousness' sake. more...

Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. more...

Look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin,... more...

We stand in life at midnight; we are always at the threshold of a new dawn. more...

The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind. It destroys communities and makes humanity impossible. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers... In winning our freedom, we will so appeal to you heart and conscience that we will win you in the process. more...

Our eternal message of hope is that dawn will come. more...

I plan to stand by nonviolence, because I have found it to be a philosophy of life that regulates not only my dealings in the struggle for racial justice, but also my dealings with people, and with my own self. more...

To be Negro in America is to hope against hope. more...

Lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering than outright rejection. more...

Is is always time to do the right thing. more...

Truth is not to be found either in traditional capitalism or in Marxism. Each represents a partial truth. Historically, capitalism failed to discern the truth in collective enterprise and Marxism failed to see the truth in individual enterprise. more...

A final victory is an accumulation of many short-term encounters. To lightly dismiss a success because it does not usher in a complete order of justice is to fail to comprehend the process of achieving full victory. more...

Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children. more...

One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters they were in reality standing up for the best in the American dream and the most sacred values in our Judaeo-Christian heritage, and thusly, carrying our whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in the formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. more...

Courageous men never lose the zest for living even though their life situation is zestless; cowardly men, overwhelmed by the uncertainties of life, lose the will to live. We must constantly build dykes of courage to hold back the flood of fear. more...

Nothing is so much needed as a secure family life for a people seeking to rise out of poverty and backwardness. more...

I decide on the basis of conscience. A genuine leader doesn't reflect consensus, he molds consensus. more...

Money, like any other force such as electricity, is amoral and can be used for either good or evil. more...

We will never have peace in the world until men everywhere recognize that ends are not cut off from means, because the means represent the ideal in the making, and the end in process, and ultimately you can't reach good ends through evil means, because the means represent the seed and the end represents the tree. more...

The idea of a superior or inferior race is a myth that has been completely refuted by anthropological evidence. more...

Before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched across the pages of history the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence, we were here. more...

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' more...

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend. more...

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase. more...

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. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. more...

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. more...

The time is always right to do what is right. more...

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. more...

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. more...

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. more...

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education. more...

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. more...

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. more...

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. more...

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. more...

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. more...

We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now. more...

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. more...

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. more...

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. more...

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. more...

I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. more...

There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. more...

The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people. more...

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. more...

Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. more...

Whatever your life's work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better. more...

If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live. more...

The quality, not the longevity, of one's life is what is important. more...

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. more...

Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love. more...

Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. more...

An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law. more...

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality. more...

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. more...

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him. more...

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think. more...

I just want to do God's will. And he's allowed me to go to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land! I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. more...

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence. more...

That old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing. more...

We must use time creatively. more...

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. more...

Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation. more...

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?' more...

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. more...

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. more...

Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see. more...

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. more...

Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals. more...

We are not makers of history. We are made by history. more...

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. more...

The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility. more...

The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict. more...

At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love. more...

Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness. more...

Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better. more...

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. more...

The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a greater one. more...

We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear. more...

Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal. more...

Seeing is not always believing. more...

Science investigates religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power religion gives man wisdom which is control. more...

The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be... The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists. more...

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. more...

If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values - that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control. more...

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom. more...

Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary. more...

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. more...

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. more...

I submit that an individual who breaks the law that conscience tells him is unjust and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law. more...

All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem. more...

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. more...

A lie cannot live. more...

Means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. more...

When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. more...

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. more...

We who in engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. more...

I want to be the white man's brother, not his brother-in-law. more...

A riot is the language of the unheard. more...

A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan. more...

A right delayed is a right denied. more...

The Negro needs the white man to free him from his fears. The white man needs the Negro to free him from his guilt. more...

One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law. more...

The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows. more...

The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice. more...

It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. more...

Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being. It is part of the earth man walks on. It is not man. more...

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted. more...

We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the postive affirmation of peace. more...

Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows. more...

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. more...

There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breadth. more...

War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow. more...

One of the greatest casualties of the war in Vietnam is the Great Society... shot down on the battlefield of Vietnam. more...

The sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. more...

It is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes; but they are derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of the white society. more...

The principle of self defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi. more...

Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction. more...

One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. more...

The more there are riots, the more repressive actin will take place, and the more we face the danger of a right-wing takeover and eventually a fascist society. more...

Riots are the voices of the unheard. more...

There is little hope for us until we become tough-minded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half-truths, and downright ignorance. The shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of soft mindedness. A nation or a civilization that continues to produce soft minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan. more...

I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive goodwill will proclaim the rule of the land. more...

The church must be reminded that it is not the master, or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. more...

Set yourself earnestly to discover what you are made to do, and then give yourself passionately to the doing of it. more...

"When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality." more...

I've told the kids in the ghettos that violence won't solve their problems, but then they ask me, and rightly so; "Why does the government use massive doses of violence to bring about the change it wants in the world?" After this I knew that I could no longer speak against the violence in the ghettos without also speaking against the violence of my government. more...

If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets as Raphael painted pictures, sweep streets as Michelangelo carved marble, sweep streets as Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. more...

Oh, the worst of all tragedies is not to die young, but to live until I am seventy five and yet not ever truly to have lived. more...

Even though I have never had an abrupt conversion experience, religion has been real to me and closely knitted to life. In fact the two cannot be separated; religion for me is life. more...

At the heart of all that civilization has meant and developed is 'community' - the mutually cooperative and voluntary venture of man to assume a semblance of responsibility for his brother. more...

The strong man is the man who can stand up for his rights and not hit back. more...

As long as there is poverty in the world I can never be rich, even if I have a billion dollars. As long as diseases are rampant and millions of people in this world cannot expect to live more than twenty-eight or thirty years, I can never be totally healthy even if I just got a good checkup at Mayo Clinic. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way our world is made. No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent. We are interdependent. more...

We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we will still love you....Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and, as difficult as it is, we will still love you. more...

One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. more...

Power is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice is love correcting everything that goes against love. more...

My parents would always tell me that I should not hate the white man, but that it was my duty as a Christian to love him. more...

My study of Gandhi convinced me that true pacifism is not nonresistance to evil, but nonviolent resistance to evil. Between the two positions, there is a world of difference. Gandhi resisted evil with as much vigor and power as the violent resister, but True pacifism is not unrealistic submission to evil power. It is rather a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love. . . . more...

It is quite easy for me to think of a God of love mainly because I grew up in a family where love was central and where lovely relationships were ever present. more...

The ability to lead a happy life is made, not found more...

I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. more...

If I sought to answer all of the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would be engaged in little else in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. more...

I too am compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my particular hometown. more...

Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid. more...

I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. more...

Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. more...

Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider. more...

I would not hesitate to say that it is unfortunate that so-called demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham at this time, but I would say in more emphatic terms that it is even more unfortunate that the white power structure of this city left the Negro community with no other alternative. more...

Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the political leaders consistently refused to engage in good-faith negotiation. more...

As the weeks and months unfolded, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. more...

We had no alternative except that of preparing for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and national community. more...

We were not unmindful of the difficulties involved. So we decided to go through a process of self-purification. more...

Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?" and "Are you able to endure the ordeals of jail?" more...

We decided to set our direct-action program around the Easter season, realizing that, with exception of Christmas, this was the largest shopping period of the year. Knowing that a strong economic withdrawal program would be the by-product of direct action. more...

Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has consistently refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. more...

My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. more...

History is the long and tragic story of the fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. more...

Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups are more immoral than individuals. more...

For years now I have heard the word "wait." It rings in the ear of every Negro with a piercing familiarity. This "wait" has almost always meant "never." more...

We must come to see with the distinguished jurist of yesterday that "justice too long delayed is justice denied." more...

Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ? - "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." more...

The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward the goal of political independence, and we still creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward the gaining of a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. more...

A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. more...

If I lived in a Communist country today where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I believe I would openly advocate disobeying these anti-religious laws. more...

The purpose of direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. more...

There is a more excellent way, of love and nonviolent protest. more...

Was not Jesus an extremist in love? - "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you." more...

Was not Abraham Lincoln an extremist? - "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." more...

Will we be extremists for hate, or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice, or will we be extremists for the cause of justice? more...

I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too small in quantity, but they are big in quality. more...

Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's often vocal sanction of things as they are. more...

They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." They brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contest. more...

The contemporary church is so often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the arch supporter of the status quo. more...

If the church of today does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authentic ring, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. more...

Even if our motives are presently misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. more...

For more than two centuries our foreparents labored here without wages; they made cotton king; and they built the homes of their masters in the midst of brutal injustice and shameful humiliation - and yet out of a bottomless vitality our people continue to thrive and develop. more...

Some people are so worn down by the yoke of oppression that they give up. more...

Slaves do not always welcome their deliverers. They become accustomed to being slaves. They would rather gear those ills they have more...

The movement for equality and justice can only be a success if it has both a mass and militant character; the barriers to be overcome require both. more...

The oppressed must never allow the conscience of the oppressor to slumber. Religion reminds every man that he is his brother's keeper. more...

Nonviolence is an imperative in order to bring about ultimate community. more...

The negro cannot win the respect of the white people of the south or the peoples of the world if he is willing to sell the future of his children for his personal and immediate comfort and safety. more...

To accept injustice or segregation passively is to say to the oppressor that his actions are morally right. more...

Violence often brings about momentary results. more...

The Negro cannot win the respect of his oppressor by acquiescing; he merely increases the oppressor's arrogance and contempt. more...

A second way that oppressed people sometimes deal with oppression is to resort to physical violence and corroding hatred. more...

An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. more...

Through nonviolent resistance the Negro will be able to rise to the noble height of opposing the unjust system while loving the perpetrators of the system. more...

Violence is not the way. more...

The principle of nonviolent resistance seeks to reconcile the truths of two opposites-Acquiescence and violence -while avoiding the extremes and immoralities of both. more...

If the Negro is to achieve the goal of integration, he must organize himself into a militant and nonviolent mass movement. more...

The Negro's problem will not be solved by running away. more...

By nonviolent resistance, the Negro can also enlist all men of good will in his struggle for equality. more...

So when Jesus says "Love your enemies," he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition. more...

To have serpentlike qualities devoid of dovelike qualities is to be passionless, mean, and selfish. more...

The greatness of our God lies in the fact that [He] is both tough minded and tender hearted. more...

The ultimate solution to the race problem lies in the willingness of men to obey the unenforceable. more...

A riot is the language of the unheard. On blacks in America; address at Birmingham AL more...

I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest. more...

...love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can't stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they'll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That's love, you see. It is redemptive... more...

Everyone has an opportunity to be great because everyone has an opportunity to serve. more...

Racial understanding is not something we find, but something that we must create. Through education, we seek to change attitudes. more...

You can have no influence over those for whom you have underlying contempt. more...

The whole world must see that Israel must exist and has the right to exist, and is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world. more...

The thing that we need in the world today is a group of men and women who will stand up for right and to be opposed to wrong, wherever it is. A group of people who have come to see that some things are wrong, whether they're never caught up with. And some things are right, whether nobody sees you doing them or not. more...

Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political moral questions of our time. more...

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action. more...

There are some things concerning which we must always be maladjusted if we are to be people of good will. We must never adjust ourselves to racial segregation. We must never adjust ourselves to religious bigotry. We must never adjust ourselves to economic conditions that take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. more...

Our problem is not to be rid of fear but rather to harness and master it. more...

Why should there be hunger and deprivation in any land, in any city, at any table, when man has the resources and the scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life? There is no deficit in human resources. The deficit is in human will. more...

Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. ... We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or to feel remorse for this shameful episode. more...

It is a strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually time is neutral. It can be used either destructively or constructively. I am coming to feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people. more...

We must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers . more...

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists, who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific and religious freedom have always been nonconformists. In any cause that concerns the progress of mankind, put your faith in the nonconformist! more...

Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. more...

We must work passionately and unrelentingly for the goal of freedom, but we must be sure that our hands are clean in the struggle. We must never struggle with falsehood, hate, or malice. We must never become bitter. more...

The major problem of life is learning how to handle the costly interruptions. The door that slams shut, the plan that got sidetracked, the marriage that failed. Or that lovely poem that didn't get written because someone knocked on the door. more...

The conservatives who say, "Let us not move so fast," and the extremists who say, "Let us go out and whip the world ," would tell you that they are as far apart as the poles. But there is a striking parallel: They accomplish nothing; for they do not reach the people who have a crying need to be free. more...

I think that we must face the fact that in reality, you cannot have economic and political equality without having some form of social equality. I think this is inevitable. more...

Wisdom born of experience should tell us that war is obsolete. There may have been a time when war served as a negative good by preventing the spread and growth of an evil force If we assume that life is worth living, if we assume that mankind has the right to survive, then we must find an alternative to war. more...

I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today - my own government.... There is something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press that would praise you when you say, 'Be nonviolent toward Jim Clark,' but will curse and damn you when you say, 'Be nonviolent toward little brown Vietnamese children!' There is something wrong with that press.... more...

The Universe is on the side of Justice more...

It is our experience that the nation doesn't move around questions of genuine equality for the poor and for black people until it is confronted massively, dramatically in terms of direct action. more...

Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. more...

This hour in history needs a dedicated circle of transformed nonconformists. Our planet teeters on the brink of annihilation; dangerous passions of pride, hatred, and selfishness are enthroned in our lives; and men do reverence before false gods of nationalism and materialism. The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority. more...

As marvelous as the stars is the mind of the person who studies them. more...

My obligation is to do the right thing. The rest is in God's hands. more...

When we see social relationships controlled everywhere by the principles which Jesus illustrated in life - trust, love, mercy, and altruism - then we shall know that the kingdom of God is here. more...

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing that it seeks to destroy. more...

Violence is anything that denies human integrity, and leads to hopelessness and helplessness. more...

Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose... one of the great problems of history is that the concepts of love and power have usually been contrasted as opposites - polar opposites - so that love is identified with a resignation of power, and power with a denial of love... What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love. more...

We in the West must bear in mind that the poor countries are poor primarily because we have exploited them through political or economic colonialism. more...

The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals. more...

The Darwinian concept of the survival of the fittest has been substituted by a philosophy of the survival of the slickest. more...

Often the oppressor goes along unaware of the evil involved in his oppression so long as the oppressed accepts it. more...

The early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the Church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles o popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. more...

So I have tried to make it clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. more...

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. more...

We must learn that passively to accept an unjust system is to cooperate with that system, and thereby to become a participant in its evil. more...

We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love. more...

Quietly endure, silently suffer and patiently wait. more...

Lightning makes no sound until it strikes. more...

Find a voice in a whisper. more...

One day we will learn that the heart can never be totally right when the head is totally wrong more...

[Nonviolence] is directed against forces of evil rather than against persons who happen to be doing the evil. It is evil that the nonviolent resister seeks to defeat, not the persons victimized by evil. more...

I am convinced that it is one of the most unjust wars that has ever been fought in the history of the world. Our involvement in the war in Vietnam has torn up the Geneva Accord. It has strengthened the military-industrial complex; it has strengthened the forces of reaction in our nation. It has put us against the self-determination of a vast majority of the Vietnamese people, and put us in the position of protecting a corrupt regime that is stacked against the poor. more...

I have a dream! To be free at last! Free at last! Free at last. And if a man has nothing to die for, Then his life is worth nothing. more...

Put yourself in a state of mind where you say to yourself, 'Here is an opportunity for me to celebrate like never before, my own power, my own ability to get myself to do whatever is necessary. more...

He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. more...

The time comes when silence is betrayal. That time has come for us today... ...some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. more...

Love is the most durable power in the world. more...

I was much more afraid in Montgomery when I had a gun in my house. When I decided that I couldn't keep a gun, I came face-to-face with the question of death and I dealt with it. From that point on, I no longer needed a gun nor have I been afraid. Had we become distracted by the question of my safety we would have lost the moral offensive and sunk to the level of our oppressors. more...

By...our readiness to allow arms to be purchased at will and fired at whim; by allowing our movie and television screens to teach our children that the hero is one who masters the art of shooting and the technique of killing...we have created an atmosphere in which violence and hatred have become popular pastimes. more...

It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it's nonviolence or nonexistence. That is where we are today. more...

It is Love that will save our world and our civilization. more...

When we look at modern man, we have to face the fact...that modern man suffers from a kind of poverty of the spirit, which stands in glaring contrast to his scientific and technological abundance; We've learned to fly the air like birds, we've learned to swim the seas like fish, and yet we haven't learned to walk the Earth as brothers and sisters... more...

We all can't be famous but we can all be great and we become great when we serve others more...

Jesus recognized that love is greater than like, more...

In his essay 'Self-Reliance' Emerson wrote, 'Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.' The Apostle Paul reminds us that whoso would be a Christian must also be a a nonconformist. Any Christian who blindly accepts the opinions of the majority and in fear and timidity follows a path of expediency and social approval is a mental and spiritual slave. more...

Somewhere somebody must have some sense. Men must see that force begets force, hate begets hate, toughness begets toughness. And it is all a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all and everybody. Somebody must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and the chain of evil in the universe. And you do that by love. more...

Any nation or government that deprives an individual of freedom is in that moment committing an act of moral and spiritual murder. Any individual who is not concerned about his freedom commits an act of moral and spiritual suicide. more...

I also came to see that liberalism's superficial optimism concerning human nature caused it to overlook the fact that reason is darkened by sin. The more I thought about human nature the more I saw how our tragic inclination for sin causes us to use our minds to rationalize our actions. Liberalism failed to see that reason by itself is little more than an instrument to justify man's defensive ways of thinking. Reason, devoid of the purifying power of faith, can never free itself from distortions and rationalizations.... more...

Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. more...

We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. more...

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

The day we see the truth and cease to speak is the day we begin to die more...

Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education. more...

Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last. more...

And 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. more...

I have a dream, that one day on the red hills of Georgia... more...

I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls. more...

On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? Conscience asks the question, is it right? There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right. more...

Like anybody, I would like to have a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. more...

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. more...

Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others. more...

Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. more...

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. more...

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well. more...

What affects one in a major way, affects all in a minor way. more...

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. more...

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. more...

The more I thought about human nature, the more I saw how our tragic inclination for sin/mistakes causes us to use our minds to rationalize our action. more...

As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation - either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course. more...

One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. more...

I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed, without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today - my own government. more...

Whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can't ride your back unless it is bent more...

One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change. more...

For you will never be what you ought to be until they [your fellow humans] are what they ought to be. more...

Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love. more...

Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream. more...

All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. more...

There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right. more...

If we do an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, we will be a blind and toothless nation. more...

Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude. more...

It is cheerful to God when you rejoice or laugh from the bottom of your heart. more...

No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they'd die for. more...

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. more...

Be The Peace You Wish To See In The World! more...

Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it. more...

Without love, there is no reason to know anyone, for love will in the end connect us to our neighbors, our children and our hearts. more...

This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. more...

We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. more...

The end of life is not to be happy, nor to achieve pleasure and avoid pain, but to do the will of God, come what may. more...

The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority. more...

If you will protest courageously, and yet with dignity and Christian love, when the history books are written in future generations, the historians will have to pause and say, "There lived a great people-a black people-who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization. more...

Only in the darkness can you see the stars. more...

If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream. more...

On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life's roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. "A Time to Break Silence," at Riverside Church more...

But life at its best is a creative synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony. more...

Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless. more...

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. more...

There comes a time when silence is betrayal. more...

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there "is" such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and postive action. more...

Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane. more...

We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers. more...

We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. more...

We are faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words 'Too Late'. more...

Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won't have any money to leave behind. I won't have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that's all I want to say. more...

Hate destroys the hater... more...

it is just as wrong, or even perhaps more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. more...

The first principle of value that we need to rediscover is this: that all reality hinges on moral foundations. In other words, that this is a moral universe, and that there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws. (from "Rediscovering Lost Values") more...

Babies, we are told, are the latest news from heaven. more...

The greatest purveyor of violence in the world : My own Government, I can not be Silent. more...

Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. more...

Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love. more...

unearned suffering is redemptive. more...

Courage faces fear and thereby masters it more...

Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war. more...

It does not matter how long you live, but how well you do it. more...

We must substitute courage for caution. more...

Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service. more...

There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society with a large segment of people in that society who feel that they have no stake in it; who feel that that have nothing to lose. People who have stake in their society, protect that society, but when they don't have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it. more...

There is no gain without struggle. more...

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state sweltering in the heat of injustice and oppression, will one day be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. more...

It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tired into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly. more...

I am what I am because of who we all are. more...

The potential beauty of human life is constantly made ugly by man's ever-recurring song of retaliation. more...

I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream - a dream yet unfulfilled. more...

Human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of [people] willing to be co-workers with God. more...

Let us be those creative dissenters who will call our beloved nation to a higher destiny. To a new plateau of compassion, to a more noble expression of humanness. more...

There is nothing more majestic than the determined courage of individuals willing to suffer and sacrifice for their freedom and dignity. more...

Christ furnished the spirit and motivation while Gandhi furnished the method. more...

In some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty. more...

Ten thousand fools proclaim themselves into obscurity, while one wise man forgets himself into immortality. more...

We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. The broad education will, therefore, transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race but also the accumulated experience of social living. If we are not careful, our colleges will produce a group of close-minded, unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts. Be careful, brethren! Be careful, teachers! more...

And when this happens, when we allow 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! more...

All men are interdependent. Every nation is an heir of a vast treasury of ideas and labor to which both the living and the dead of all nations have contributed. Whether we realize it or not, each of us lives eternally 'in the red.' We are everlasting debtors to known and unknown men and women. more...

There is nothing in all the world greater than freedom. It is worth paying for; it is worth going to jail for. I would rather be a free pauper than a rich slave. I would rather die in abject poverty with my convictions than live in inordinate riches with the lack of self respect. more...

The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals. more...

If you've got nothing worth dying for, you've got nothing worth living for. more...

I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. more...

Man was born into barbarism when killing his fellow man was a normal condition of existence. He became endowed with a conscience. And he has now reached the day when violence toward another human being must become as abhorrent as eating another's flesh. more...

I just want to be there in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so that we can make of this old world a new world. more...

It's not how long a man lives, but how well he uses the time allotted him. more...

Segregation is the adultery of an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality. more...

...we must realize that a vast majority of believers are still searching and will continue to search for the being who is the "source of human good." Those who seek with clear heads and sincere hearts will in some measure find. Of course the true seeker will realize that there is no one way to find God. To be sure, there are many possible ways of finding God. more...

The potential beauty of human life is constantly made ugly by man's ever recurring song of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever rising tides of revenge. Man has never risen above the injunction of the lex talionis: "Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." In spite of the fact that the law of revenge solves no social problems, men continue to follow its disastrous leading. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path. more...

If a man hasn't found anything worth dying for, he hasn't anything worth living for. more...

In a world facing the revolt of ragged and hungry masses of God's children; in a world torn between the tensions of East and West, white and colored, individuals and collectivists; in a world whose cultural and spiritual power lags so far behind her technological capabilities that we live each day on the verge of nuclear co-annihilation; in this world, nonviolence is no longer an option for intellectual analysis, it is an imperative for action more...

The road to freedom is a difficult, hard road. It always makes for temporary setbacks. more...

Man is not made for the state; the state is made for man. To deprive man of freedom is to relegate him to the status of a thing, rather than elevate him to the status of a person. Man must never be treated as a means to the end of the state, but always as an end within himself. more...

With all of its false assumptions and evil methods, communism grew as a protest against the hardships of the underprivileged. Communism in theory emphasized a classless society, and a concern for social justice, though the world knows from sad experience that in practice it created new classes and a new lexicon of injustice. more...

Capitalism is always in danger of inspiring men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life. 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 and relationship to humanity-thus capitalism can lead to a practical materialism that is as pernicious as the materialism taught by communism. more...

Personalism's insistence that only personality-finite and infinite-is ultimately real strengthened me in two convictions: it gave me metaphysical and philosophical grounding for the idea of a personal God, and it gave me a metaphysical basis for the dignity and worth of all human personality. more...

Agape means recognition of the fact that all life is interrelated. All humanity is involved in a single process, and all men are brothers. To the degree that I harm my brother, no matter what he is doing to me, to that extent I am harming myself. more...

A nation that will keep people in slavery for 244 years will "thingify" them and make them things. And therefore, they will exploit them and poor people generally economically. And a nation that will exploit economically will have to have foreign investments and everything else, and it will have to use its military might to protect them. All of these problems are tied together. What I'm saying today is that we must go from this convention and say, "America, you must be born again!" more...

Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political and economic change. Walter Reuther defined power one day. He said, "Power is the ability of a labor union like the U.A.W. to make the most powerful corporation in the world, General Motors, say 'Yes' when it wants to say 'No.' That's power." more...

Now a lot of us are preachers, and all of us have our moral convictions and concerns, and so often have problems with power. There is nothing wrong with power if power is used correctly. more...

A host of positive psychological changes inevitably will result from widespread economic security. The dignity of the individual will flourish when the decisions concerning his life are in his own hands, when he has the means to seek self-improvement. Personal conflicts among husbands, wives and children will diminish when the unjust measurement of human worth on the scale of dollars is eliminated. more...

Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God's children. more...

There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. more...

True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice. more...

I have DECIDED to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. GOD is love. more...

It is always the right time to do the right thing. more...

Whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity and it has worth, more...

The belief that God will do everything for man is as untenable as the belief that man can do everything for himself. It, too, is based on a lack of faith. We must learn that to expect God to do everything while we do nothing is not faith but superstition. more...

We aren't going to have peace on Earth until we recognize the basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality. more...

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. more...

We've been in the mountain of war. We've been in the mountain of violence. We've been in the mountain of hatred long enough. It is necessary to move on now, but only by moving out of this mountain can we move to the promised land of justice and brotherhood and the Kingdom of God. It all boils down to the fact that we must never allow ourselves to become satisfied with unattained goals. We must always maintain a kind of divine discontent. more...

I just want to do God's will. more...

I admire the good samaritan, but I don't want to be one.I don't want to spend my life picking up people by the side of the road after they have been beaten up and robbed.I want to change the Jericho road, so that everybody has an opportunity for a job, education, security, health. more...

If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. more...

I have a dream today! more...

Join with the Earth and each other, to bring new life to the land, to restore the waters, to refresh the air, to renew the forests, to care for the plants, to protect the creatures, to celebrate the seas, to rejoice in the sunlight, to sing the song of the stars, to recall our destiny, to renew our spirits, to reinvigorate ur bodies, to recreate the human community, to promote justice and peace, to love our children and love one another, to join together as many and diverse expressions of one loving mystery, for the healing of the Earth and the renewal of all life. more...

It will be one of the tragedies of Christian history if future historians record that at the height of the twentieth century the church was one of the greatest bulwarks of white supremacy. more...

I'll tell you, I've seen the lightning flash. I've heard the thunder roll. I felt sin-breakers dashing, trying to conquer my soul. But I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on. more...

Mankind's survival is dependent on man's ability to solve the problems of racial injustice, poverty, and war; the solution of these problems is in turn dependent upon man's squaring his moral progress with his scientific progress, and learning the practical art of living in harmony. more...

The truth may hurt, but love helps ease the pain. more...

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. Our hope for creative living lies in our ability to reestablish the spiritual needs of our lives in personal character and social justice. Without this spiritual and moral reawakening we shall destroy ourselves in the misuse of our own instruments. more...

Violence multiplies violence. more...

I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission - a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for "the brotherhood of man". more...

Alienation is a form of living death. It is the acid of despair that dissolves society. more...

Every crisis has both its dangers and its opportunities. Each can spell either salvation or doom. more...

Freedom is one thing. You have it all or you are not free. more...

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. more...

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and 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 a oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream 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 content of their character. I have a dream today! more...

I say to you that our goal is freedom, and I believe we are going to get there because however much she strays away from it, the goal of America is freedom. more...

I'm concerned about justice. I'm concerned about brotherhood. I'm concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about these, he can never advocate violence. more...

In every age and every generation, men have envisioned a promised land. Some may have envisioned it with the wrong ideology, with the wrong philosophical presupposition. But men in every generation thought in terms of some promised land. more...

It is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of high maturity, to rise to the level of self-criticism. more...

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. more...

Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. more...

Never before have I written so long a letter. I'm afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts, and pray long prayers? more...

Racial segregation must be seen for what it is, and that is an evil system, a new form of slavery covered up with certain niceties of complexity. more...

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. more...

The strong man holds in a living blend strongly marked opposites. more...

There may be a conflict between softminded religionists and toughminded scientists, but not between science and religion. more...

True sympathy is the personal concern which demands the giving of one's soul. more...

We all have the drum major instinct. We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade. more...

We must stand up and say, "I'm black and I'm beautiful," and this self-affirmation is the black man's need, made compelling by the white man's crimes against him. more...

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. more...

We have waited for more than three hundred and forty years for our constitutional and God-given rights. more...

Why is the church always a taillight rather than a headlight? more...

Your self-image should not come from the job you do but from how well you do your job. more...

We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. . . . Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, 'Too late.' ... Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. more...

Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life. more...

So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. more...

Darkness cannot be overcome with more darkness, only with light. Violence cannot be overcome with more violence, only with peace. more...

I've decided to stick with love. more...

With the tough mind, there must also be a tender heart. more...

No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity more...

There are always those who say legislation can't solve the problem. There is a half-truth involved here. It is true that legislation cannot solve the whole problem. It can solve some of the problem. It may be true that morality can't be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. more...

We can never travel beyond the arms of the Divine. more...

For years, I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions in the South, a little change here, a little change there. Now I feel quite differently. I think you've got to have a reconstruction of the entire system, a revolution of values. more...

Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary. more...

I refuse to accept the view . . . that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. more...

Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity. more...

Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten....America owes a debt of justice which it has only begun to pay. If it loses the will to finish or slackens in its determination, history will recall its crimes and the country that would be great will lack the most indispensable element of greatness-justice. more...

Rioting is not revolutionary. more...

To sway an audience, you must watch them as you speak. more...

A man who hasn't found anything he'd die for doesn't deserve to live. more...

Be a thermostat not a thermometer. more...

We live in a world of guided missiles and misguided men. more...

It's not how long you live, it's how well you live. more...

The church must be the critic and guide of the state, and never its tool. more...

To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. more...

The only time people do not like praise is when too much of it is going toward someone else. more...

We can either walk the highroad of brotherhood or the low road of man's inhumanity to man. more...

Three simple words can describe the nature of the social revolution that is talking place and what Negroes really want. They are the words "all," "now," and "here." more...

Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with an its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured. more...

The use of violence in our struggle would be both impractical and immoral. To meet hate with retaliatory hate would do nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love; we must meet physical force with soul force. Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding. more...

Somebody must have sense enough to meet hate with love. Somebody must have sense enough to meet physical force with soul force. If we will but try this way, we will be able to change these conditions and yet at the same time win the hearts and souls of those who have kept these conditions alive a way as old as the insights of Jesus of Nazareth, as modern as the techniques of Mohandas K. Gandhi. There is another way. more...

The existence of poverty in the US should not be accepted as a necessary evil or insoluble problem, but should be considered a crisis requiring emergency measures. It is a matter of will and priorities, not a matter of resources. more...

?It is a cruel injustice to tell a bootless man to pull himself up by his bootstraps. more...

I'm very glad Christ tells us to love our neighbor and not to like our neighbor because it's hard to like someone threatening your children and throwing fire bombs through your window, but He asks us to love them and that I can do more...

The white poor also suffer deprivation and the humiliation of poverty if not of color. They are chained by the weight of discrimination though its badge of degradation does not mark them. It corrupts their lives, frustrates their opportunities and withers their education. In one sense it is more evil for them because it has confused so many by prejudice that they have supported their own oppressors. more...

Love is a usually force able of transforming an rivalry into friend. more...

If you want to be important-wonderful. If you want to be recognized-wonderful. If you want to be great-wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That's a new definition of greatness. more...

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, from every state and every city. more...

Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. more...

Another way that you love your enemy is this: When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it. more...

Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. more...

Make your way to death row and speak with the tragic victims of criminality. As they prepare to make their pathetic walk to the electric chair, their hopeless cry is that society will not forgive. Capital punishment is society's final assertion that it will not forgive. more...

Education without direction is a one-sided social value. Direct action without education is a meaningless expression of pure energy. more...

Vanity asks, is it popular? Politics ask, will it work? But conscience and morality ask, is it right? more...

If you can't be a sun, be a star. For it isn't by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are. more...

Be sure to play "Blessed Lord" tonight - play it real pretty. more...

School takes 13 years, because that is how long it takes to break a child's spirit. more...

The body is God's temple, but we are to worship God, not the temple. more...

People with good intentions but limited understanding are more dangerous than people with total ill will. more...

The law of "An eye for an eye" will eventually leave everyone blind. more...

The holy passion of friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends more...

You cannot defect form an insight. You cannot unsee what you have seen. more...

Ten cures for depression are to go out and do something for someone else and repeat it nine times. more...

My soul is too glad and too great to be at heart the enemy of any man more...

Non-violent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored... I am not afraid of the word tension. I have earnestly worked and preached against violent tension, and there is a type of constructive tension that is necessary for growth. more...

In the event of a violent revolution, we would be sorely outnumbered. And when it was all over, the Negro would face the same unchanged conditions, the same squalor and deprivation-the only difference being that his bitterness would be even more intense, his disenchantment even more abject. Thus, in purely practical as well as moral terms, the American Negro has no rational alternative to nonviolence. more...

I would be misleading you if I made you feel that we could win a violent campaign. It's impractical even to think about it. The minute we start, we will end up getting many more people killed unnecessarily. Now, I'm ready to die myself. Many other committed people are ready to die. If you believe in something firmly, if you believe in it truly, if you believe it in your heart, you are willing to die for it, but I'm not going to advocate a method that brings about unnecessary death. more...

The Negro who experiences bitter and agonizing circumstances as a result of some ungodly white person is tempted to look upon all white persons as evil, if he fails to look beyond his circumstances. But the minute he looks beyond his circumstances and sees the whole of the situation, he discovers that some of the most implacable and vehement advocates of racial equality are consecrated white persons. more...

I have an ultimate faith in America and an audacious faith in mankind. more...

Whom you would change, you must first love. more...

Communism will never be defeated by atomic bombs. Our greatest defense against Communism is to take offensive action on behalf of justice and righteousness. We must seek to remove conditions of poverty, injustice, and racial discrimination. more...

Cowardice asks the question, is it safe? more...

Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances. more...

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. more...

In order to be true to one's conscience and true to God, a righteous man has no alternative but to refuse to cooperate with an evil system. more...

Today, is a great day to make a difference for someone. 'I have a dream'. more...

I"ve been to the Mountaintop more...

This is the great new problem of mankind. We have inherited a large house, a great "world house" in which we have to live together- black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Muslim and Hindu- a family unduly separated in ideas, culture and interest, who, because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace. more...

Just as it is the duty of all men to obey just laws, so it is the duty of all men to disobey unjust laws. more...

I have a dream, one dream, keep dreaming. Dream of freedom, justice dreaming, dreaming of equality and hopefully no longer required to dream them more...

If I knew that the world ends tomorrow, I, even today, plant a tree more...

Your truth will increase as you know listen to the truth of others more...

Our generation will not have regretted both perverse crimes, and the eerie silence of the kind more...

What you get with violence can be maintained only with violence more...

If a man has not discovered anything so dying is not worth living more...

I would suffer all the humiliation, all the torture, the absolute ostracism and even death, to prevent violence more...

The United States is the largest exporter of violence in the world more...

A man does not measure its height in moments of comfort, but in terms of change and controversy more...

Nothing degrades a man do more than the allowed stoop so low as to hate someone more...

From my Christian formation've gotten my ideals and technique Gandhi action more...

I hate it when people quote me on the internet, claiming I said things that I never actually said. more...

A woman can have a smile, and a woman can have a large backside, but I have been to the mountain and I am here to tell you that when a woman has both of those things she is not to be trusted. more...

Some of my best friends are Oscar Wilde. more...

Hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear; only love can do that. Hatred paralyzes life; love harmonies it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it. more...

Once you become dedicated to a cause, personal security is not the goal. What will happen to you personally does not matter. My cause, my race, is worth dying for. more...

Like a boil that must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed to the light of human conscience before it can be cured. more...

A man who has nothing he is willing to die for has nothing worth living for more...

Good and just society is neither the thesis of capitalism nor the antithesis of communism, but a socially conscious democracy which reconciles the truths of individualism and collectivism. more...

If we are going to achieve a real equality, the U.S. will have to adopt a modified form of Socialism. more...

You see, my friends...you begin to ask the questions, 'Who owns the oil?' You begin to ask the question, 'Who owns the iron ore?' You begin to ask the question, 'Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that is two-thirds water?' more...

How hard it is for people to live without someone to look down upon-really to look down upon. It is not just that they feel cheated out of someone to hate. It is that they are compelled to look more closely into themselves and what they don't like about themselves. more...

When we ask Negroes to abide by the law, let us also declare that the white man does not abide by law in the ghettos. Day in and day out he violates welfare laws to deprive the poor of their meager allotments; he flagrantly violates building codes and regulations; his police make a mockery of law; he violates laws on equal employment and education and the provisions of civil services. The slums are the handiwork of a vicious system of the white society; Negroes live in them, but they do not make them, any more than a prisoner makes a prison. more...

The Negroes of America had taken the President, the press and the pulpit at their word when they spoke in broad terms of freedom and justice. But the absence of brutality and unregenerate evil is not the presence of justice. To stay murder is not the same thing as to ordain brotherhood. more...

Nonviolent action, the Negro saw, was the way to supplement, not replace, the progress of change. It was the way to divest himself of passivity without arraying himself in vindictive force. more...

We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life's marketplace. But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. more...

Judge a man not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character. more...

Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. more...

We need not join the mad rush to purchase an earthly fallout shelter. God is our eternal fallout shelter. more...

Peace is not merely the absence of war but the presence of justice, of law, of order -in short, of government. more...

Hate is too heavy a burden to bear. more...

There is no sound more powerful than the marching feet of a determined people. more...

And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land more...

The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. more...

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate. more...

We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. more...

Yes, I see the Church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists. more...

From the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire, let freedom ring. From the mighty mountains of New York, let freedom ring. From the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania, let freedom ring.... Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill... more...

There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society with a large segment of people in that society who feel that they have no stake in it; who feel that they have nothing to lose. People who have stake in their society, protect that society... more...

The arm of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. more...

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. more...

In this Revolution no plans have been written for retreat. more...

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. more...

We must use time creatively - and forever realize that the time is always hope to do great things. more...

It is my hope that as the Negro plunges deeper into the quest for freedom and justice he will plunge even deeper into the philosophy of non-violence. more...

The Negro all over the South must come to the point that he can say to his white brother: We will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. more...

If the cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail.... Because the goal of America is freedom, abused and scorned tho' we may be, our destiny is tied up with America's destiny. more...

If a man hasn't discovered something that he would die for, he isn't fit to live. more...

Our forebears labored without wages. They made cotton king. And yet out of a bottomless vitality, they continued to thrive and develop. more...

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. more...

Let us therefore continue our triumphal march to the realization of the American dream. for all of us today, the battle is in our hands. The road ahead is not altogether a smooth one. There are no broad highways that lead us easily and inevitably to quick solutions. We are still in for the season of suffering. How long? Not long. Because no lie can live forever. Our God is marching on. more...

There's another reason why you should love your enemies, and that is because hate distorts the personality of the hater. We usually think of what hate does for the individual hated or the individuals hated or the groups hated. But it is even more tragic, it is even more ruinous and injurious to the individual who hates... For the person who hates, the true becomes false and the false becomes true. That's what hate does. more...

Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love. more...

In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law... That would lead to anarchy. An individual who breaks a law that his conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law. more...

The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. more...

It is my hope that as the Negro plunges deeper into the quest for freedom and justice he will plunge even deeper into the philosophy of non-violence. The Negro all over the South must come to the point that he can say to his white brother: We will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. We will not hate you, but we will not obey your evil laws. We will soon wear you down by pure capacity to suffer. more...

The more there are riots, the more repressive action will take place, and the more we face the danger of a right-wing takeover and eventually a fascist society. more...

We are faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words "Too Late". more...

It's all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps. more...

Violence never really deals with the basic evil of the situation. Violence may murder the murderer, but it does' murder murder. Violence may murder the liar, but it does' murder lie; it does' establish truth. Violence may even murder the dishonest man, but it does' murder dishonesty. Violence may go to the point of murdering the hater, but it does' murder hate. It may increase hate. It is always a descending spiral leading nowhere. This is the ultimate weakness of violence: It multiplies evil and violence in the universe. It does' solve any problems. more...

The greatest pain is the pain of a new idea. more...

Before it is too late, we must narrow the gaping chasm between our proclomations of peace and our lowly deeds which precipitate and perpetuate war. more...

I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. 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. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. more...

I may not get there with you, but I believe that we as a people will someday reach the promised land. more...

I would urge you to give priority to the search for God. Allow his spirit to permeate your being. ... If you do not have a deep and patient faith in God, you will be powerless to face the delays, disappointments, and vicissitudes that inevitably come. more...

Nonviolence is the most potent technique for oppressed people. Unearned suffering is redemptive. more...

Unarmed love is the most powerful force in all the world. more...

The method of nonviolence seeks not to humiliate and not to defeat the oppressor, but it seeks to win his friendship and his understanding. And thereby and therefore the aftermath of this method is reconciliation. more...

The government can't make people love me, but it can keep them from lynching me. more...

We must move forward in the days ahead with audacious faith. The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice. more...

I was not afraid of the words of the violent, but of the silence of the honest. more...

Something should remind us once more that the great things in this universe are things that we never see. more...

Every person must stand up and be accountable, but be responsible for their actions. more...

We will not build a peaceful world by following a negative path. It is not enough to say we will 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 on the positive affirmation of peace more...

You can kill the dreamer, but you can't kill the dream. more...

In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law . . That would lead to anarchy. more...

Love is the most durable power in the world. This creative force is the most potent instrument available in mankind's quest for peace and security. more...

Christianity affirms that at the heart of reality is a Heart, a loving Father who works through history for the salvation of His children. Man cannot save himself, for man is not the measure of all things and humanity is not God. Bound by the chains of his own sin and finiteness, man needs a Savior. more...

My charge as prime minister is to take any decision that is in the best interest of the country. more...

America, you must be born again! more...

We ain't goin' study war no more. more...

I was much more afraid in Montgomery when I had a gun in my house. When I decided that I could' keep a gun, I came face-to-face with the question of death and I dealt with it. From that point on, I no longer needed a gun nor have I been afraid. Had we become distracted by the question of my safety we would have lost the moral offensive and sunk to the level of our oppressors. more...

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If todayI lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws. more...

The real problem is that through our scientific genius we"ve made of the world a neighborhood, but through our moral and spiritual genius we"ve failed to make of it a brotherhood. more...

Love is creative and redemptive. Love builds up and unites; hate tears down and destroys. The aftermath of the "fight with fire" method...is bitterness and chaos, the aftermath of the love method is reconciliation and creation of the beloved community...Yes , love-which means understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill, even for one's enemies-is the solution more...

You ca' reach good ends through evil means, because the means represent the seed and the end represents the tree. more...

By its very nature, hate destroys and tears down; by its very nature, love creates and builds up. more...

Another reason why we must love our enemies is that hate scars the soul and distorts the personality. more...

In our society it is murder, psychologically, to deprive a man of a job or an income. You are in substance saying to that man that he has no right to exist. You are in a real way depriving him of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, denying in his case the very creed of his society. more...

The darkness of racial injustice will be dispelled only by the light of forgiving love. For more that three centuries American Negroes have been frustrated by day and bewilderment by night by unbearable injustice, and burdened with the ugly weight of discrimination. Forced to live with these shameful conditions, we are tempted to become bitter and retaliate with a corresponding hate. But if this happens, the new order we seek will be little more than a duplicate of the old order. We must in strength and humility meet hate with love. more...

Whenever the early Christians entered a town the power structure got disturbed and immediately sought to convict them for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators." But they went on with the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," and had to obey God rather than man. They were small in number but big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." They brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contest. more...

It's just as evil to kill Vietnamese as it is to kill Americans. more...

Never could I advocate nonviolence in this country and not advocate nonviolence for the whole world. more...

All too many of those who live in affluent America ignore those who exist in poor America; in doing so, the affluent Americans will eventually have to face themselves with the question that Eichman chose to ignore: How responsible am I for the well-being of my fellows? more...

It is not only poverty that torments the Negro; it is the fact of poverty amid plenty. It is a misery generated by the gulf between the affluence he sees in the mass media and the deprivation he experiences in his everyday life. more...

I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law. more...

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well. more...

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. more...

Let no man pull you low enough to hate him. more...

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. more...

Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love. more...

The church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. more...

Now, I say to you today my friends, 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. more...

...And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. So I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. more...

Wisdom born of experience should tell us that war is obsolete. There may have been a time when war served as a negative good by preventing the spread and growth of an evil force... If we assume that life is worth living, if we assume that mankind has the right to survive, then we must find an alternative to war. more...

We must expect finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope. more...

When evil men plot, good men must plan. more...

Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.... You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. more...

When you first name becomes nigger, your middle name becomes boy (however old you are), and your wife and mother are never given the respected title Mrs.; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro... when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of nobodiness - then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. more...

The majority of the Negroes who took part in the year-long boycott of Montgomery's buses were poor and untutored; but they understood the essence of the Montgomery movement; one elderly woman summed it up for the rest. When asked after several weeks of walking whether she was tired, she answered: My feet is tired, but my soul is at rest. more...

I will always remember my delight when Mrs. Georgia Gilmore - an unlettered woman of unusual intelligence - told how an operator demanded that she get off the bus after paying her fare and board it again by the back door, and then drove away before she could get there. She turned to Judge Carter and said: When they count the money, they do not know Negro money from white money. more...

It must be emphasized that nonviolent resistance is not a method for cowards; it does resist. If one uses this method because he is afraid or merely because he lacks the instruments of violence, he is not truly nonviolent. This is why Gandhi often said that if cowardice is the only alternative to violence, it is better to fight. more...

The conservatives who say, Let us not move so fast, and the extremists who say, Let us go out and whip the world, would tell you that they are as far apart as the poles. But there is a striking parallel: They accomplish nothing; for they do not reach the people who have a crying need to be free. more...

A fifth point concerning nonviolent resistance is that it avoids not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him. more...

We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers. Our abundance has brought us neither peace of mind nor serenity of spirit. more...

The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued that self-defeating path of hate. Love is the key to the solution of the problems of the world. more...

As a teenager I had never been able to accept the fact of having to go to the back of a bus or sit in the segregated section of a train. The first time I had been seated behind a curtain in a dining car, I felt as if the curtain had been dropped on my self-hood. more...

I am convinced that the universe is under the control of a loving purpose, and that in the struggle for righteousness man has cosmic companionship. more...

We are the heirs of a past of rope, fire, and murder. I for one am not ashamed of this past. My shame is for those who became so inhuman that they could inflict this torture upon us. more...

There comes a time when people get tired of being plunged into the abyss of exploitation and nagging injustice. more...

If you will protest courageously, and yet with dignity and Christian love, when the history books are written in future generations, the historians will have to pause and say, There lived a great people - a black people - who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization. This is our challenge and our overwhelming responsibility. more...

Every human life is a reflection of divinity, and... every act of injustice mars and defaces the image of God in man. more...

Unfortunately, most of the major denominations still practice segregation in local churches, hospitals, schools, and other church institutions. It is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o'clock on Sunday morning, the same hour when many are standing to sing: In Christ There Is No East Nor West. more...

You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. more...

As I like to say to the people in Montgomery: The tension in this city is not between white people and Negro people. The tension is, at bottom, between justice and injustice, between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. more...

One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. more...

I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and is willing to accept the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law. more...

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was legal and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was illegal. more...

I cannot reach fulfillment without thou. The self cannot be self without other selves. Self-concern without other-concern is like a tributary that has no outward flow to the ocean. more...

Perhaps only his sense of humor and irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation in the world speaking of his aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor weak nation more than eight thousand miles away from its shores. more...

We are everlasting debtors to known and unknown men and women.... When we arise in the morning, we go into the bathroom where we reach for a sponge provided for us by a Pacific Islander. We reach for soap that is created for us by a Frenchman. The towel is provided by a Turk. Then at the table we drink coffee which is provided for us by a South American, or tea by a Chinese, or cocoa by a West African. Before we leave for our jobs, we are beholden to more than half the world. more...

If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you to go on in spite of all. And so today I still have a dream. more...

It is historically and biologically true that there can be no birth and growth without birth and growing pains. Whenever there is the emergence of the new we confront the recalcitrance of the old. So the tensions which we witness in the world today are indicative of the fact that a new world order is being born and an old order is passing away. more...

Government action is not the whole answer to the present crisis, but it is an important partial answer. Morals cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. The law cannot make an employer love me, but it can keep him from refusing to hire me because of the color of my skin. more...

I have a dream tonight. One day my little daughter and my two sons will grow up in a world not conscious of the color of their skin but only conscious of the fact that they are members of the human race. more...

Judicial decrees may not change the heart; but they can restrain the heartless. more...

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. more...

One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly,... and with a willingness to accept the penalty. more...

We can never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was 'legal' and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was 'illegal. more...

I have a dream this afternoon that my four little children, that my four little children will not come up in the same young days that I came up within, but they will be judged on the basis of the content of their character, and not the color of their skin. more...

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir... America has defaulted on this promissory note in so far as her citizens of color are concerned. more...

From every mountainside, let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom to ring, and 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 that old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! more...

A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard. more...

Even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures; sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry; sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well. more...

[When imagining his own eulogy:] Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for peace; I was a drum major for righteousness. more...

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. more...

We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. more...

The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. more...

Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illumines it. more...

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negroes' great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens' Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice. more...

We have genuflected before the god of science only to find that it has given us the atomic bomb, producing fears and anxieties that science can never mitigate. more...

Segregation is on its deathbed - the question now is, how costly will the segregationists make the funeral? more...

A time comes when silence is betrayal. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought, within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. more...

To dislocate the functioning of a city without destroying it can be more effective than a riot because it can be longer-lasting, costly to the society but not wantonly destructive, moreover, it is more difficult for Government to quell it by superior force. more...

Mass civil disobedience can use rage as a constructive and creative force. more...

It is purposeless to tell Negroes they should not be enraged when they should be. Indeed, they will be mentally healthier if they do not suppress rage, but vent it constructively and use its energy peacefully but forcefully to cripple the operations of an oppressive society. Civil disobedience can utilize the militance wasted in riots to seize clothes or groceries many do not even want. more...

Friends are forever Boys are whatever. more...

One day we will learn that the heart can never be totally right if the head is totally wrong. Only through the bringing together of head and heart-intelligence and goodness-shall man rise to a fulfillment of his true nature. more...

Perhaps...the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists. more...

The world in which we live is geographically one. The challenge that we face today is to make it one in terms of brotherhood. more...

We must face the appalling fact that we have been betrayed by both the Democratic and Republican Parties. more...

The greatness of man cannot be seen in the hours of comfort and convenience, but rather in moments of conflict/adversity more...

Resistance and nonviolence are not in themselves good. There is another element that must be present in our struggle that then makes our resistance and nonviolence truly meaningful. That element is reconciliation. Our ultimate end must be the creation of the beloved community. more...

We must all learn to live together as brothers. Or we will all perish together as foolsFor some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. more...

Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the struggle for equal rights. more...

And when you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. Don't just set out to do a good job. more...

Before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched across the pages of history the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence, we were here. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands. more...

The words 'bad timing' came to be ghosts haunting our every move in Birmingham. Yet people who used this argument were ignorant of the background of our planning...they did not realize that it was ridiculous to speak of timing when the clock of history showed that the Negro had already suffered one hundred years of delay. more...

I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds of energies in rehabilitation of its poor as long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. more...

Slavery in America was perpetuated not merely by human badness but also by human blindness. ... Men convinced themselves that a system that was so economically profitable must be morally justifiable. ... Science was commandeered to prove the biological inferiority of the Negro. Even philosophical logic was manipulated [exemplified by] an Aristotlian syllogism: All men are made in the image of God; God, as everyone knows, is not a Negro; Therefore, the Negro is not a man. more...

When the Negro finds the courage to be free, he faces dogs and guns and clubs and fire hoses totally unafraid, and the white men with those dogs, guns, clubs and fire hoses see that the Negro they have traditionally called "boy" has become a man. more...

As we have seen, the first public expression of disenchantment with nonviolence arose around the question of 'self-defense.' In a sense this is a false issue, for the right to defend one's home and one's person when attacked has been guaranteed through the ages by common law. more...

In the final analysis, means and ends must cohere because the end is preexistent in the means, and, ultimately, destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends. more...

Though we live in the colony of time, we are ultimately responsible to the empire of eternity. more...

I always had a deep affection for Malcolm and felt that he had a great ability to put his finger on the existence and the root of the problem. He was an eloquent spokesman for his point of view and no one can honestly doubt that Malcolm had a great concern for the problems we face as a race. more...

There is little hope for us until we become tough-minded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half-truths, and down-right ignorance. more...

To have peace in the world, men & nations must embrace the nonviolent assertion that ends and means must cohere. more...

I guess one of the great agonies of life is that we are constantly trying to finish that which is unfinishable more...

Violence is not only impractical but immoral. more...

Please be peaceful. We believe in law and order. We are not advocating violence, I want you to love your enemies... for what we are doing is right, what we are doing is just - and God is with us. more...

This is the unusual thing about nonviolence - nobody is defeated, everybody shares in the victory. more...

I said to my children, 'I'm going to work and do everything that I can do to see that you get a good education. I don't ever want you to forget that there are millions of God's children who will not and cannot get a good education, and I don't want you feeling that you are better than they are. For you will never be what you ought to be until they are what they ought to be. more...

I'm grateful to God that, through the Negro church, the dimension of nonviolence entered our struggle. more...

There is a magnificent new militancy within the Negro community all across this nation. And I welcome this as a marvelous development. The Negro of America is saying he's determined to be free and he is militant enough to stand up. more...

You can't talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can't talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of the slums. You're really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry. Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with capitalism. more...

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked 'insufficient funds.' more...

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly I have never yet engaged in a direct action movement that was 'well timed,' according to the timetable of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word 'Wait!' It rings in the ear of every Negro with a piercing familiarity. This 'wait' has almost always meant 'never.' We must come to see with the distinguished jurist of yesterday that 'justice too long delayed is justice denied.' more...

If America does not use her vast resources of wealth to end poverty and make it possible for all of God's children to have the basic necessities of life, she too will go to hell. more...

If our economic system is to survive, there has to be a better distribution of wealth ... we can't have a system where some people live in superfluous, inordinate wealth, while others live in abject deadening poverty. more...

Somebody told a lie one day. They couched it in language. They made everything Black ugly and evil. Look in your dictionaries and see the synonyms of the word Black. It's always something degrading and low and sinister. Look at the word White, it's always something pure, high and clean. Well I want to get the language right tonight. I want to get the language so right that everyone here will cry out: 'Yes, I'm Black, I'm proud of it. I'm Black and I'm beautiful!' more...

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the qu icksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. more...

I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the eighth century prophets left their little villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns; and just as the Apostle Paul left his little village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to practically every hamlet and city of the Graeco-Roman world, I too am compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my particular home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid. more...

The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority. more...

I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness. more...

I'm concerned about a better world. I'm concerned about justice; I'm concerned about brotherhood; I'm concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can't murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can't establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can't murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that. more...

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If todayI lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws. more...

Be an artist at whatever you do. Even if you are a street sweeper, be the Michelangelo of street sweepers. more...

Let's build bridges, not walls. more...

The poor never get the job done they are sleepy. more...

I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. more...

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. more...

Use me, God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself. more...

We refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. more...

We must in strength and humility meet hate with love. more...

Be concerned about your brother...eithe r we go up together, or we go down together. more...

Man must never be treated as a means to the end of the state, but always as an end within himself. more...

History is a great teacher. Now everyone knows that the labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising the living standards of millions, labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them. more...

History will have to recordThat the greatest tragedy of this period of social transitionWas not the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad peopleBut the appalling silence and indifference of the good.Our generation will have to repent notOnly for the words and actions of the children of darknessBut also for the fears and apathy of thechildren of light. more...

The intellectual and moral satisfaction that I failed to gain from the utilitarianism of Bentham and Mill, the revolutionary methods of Marx and Lenin, the social contract theory of Hobbes, the "back to nature" optimism of Rousseau, and the superman philosophy of Nietzsche, I found in the nonviolent resistance philosophy of Gandhi. I came to feel that this was the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom. more...

What are you doing for others? more...

Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter. As you press for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the instruments of love. more...

Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you've depended on more than half of the world. more...

Difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future. more...

The group consisting of mother, father and child is the main educational agency of mankind. more...

One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust ... is in reality expressing the highest respect for law ... We will not obey your evil laws. more...

In a real sense faith is total surrender to God . more...

Personality is like a charioteer with two headstrong horses, each wanting to go in different directions. more...

I feel that segregation is totally unchristian, and that it is against everything the Christian religion stands for. more...

If a city has a 30% Negro population, then it is logical to assume that Negroes should have at least 30% of the jobs in any particular company, and jobs in all categories rather than only in menial areas. more...

We know of no more crucial civil rights issue facing Congress today than the need to increase the federal minimum wage and extend its coverage. more...

Those of us who love peace must organize as effectively as the war hawks. As they spread the propaganda of war, we must spread the propaganda of peace. more...

Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. more...

Stand up for justice, stand up for truth; and God will be at your side forever. more...

God is not merely interestd in the freedom of brown men, yellow men, red men and black men.He is interested in the freedom of the whole human race. more...

A second thing that an individual must do in seeking to love his enemy is to discover the element of good in his enemy, and everytime you begin to hate that person and think of hating that person, realize that there is some good there and look at those good points which will over-balance the bad points. more...

Every word and deed must contribute to an understanding with the enemy and release those vast reservoirs of goodwill which have been blocked by impenetrable walls of hate. more...

Hate destroys the very structure of the personality of the hater. more...

I think the first reason that we should love our enemies, and I think this was at the very center of Jesus' thinking, is this: that hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. more...

If I hit you and you hit me and I hit you back and you hit me back and go on, you see, that goes on ad infinitum. It just never ends. Somewhere somebody must have a little sense, and that's the strong person. more...

In order to love your enemies, you must begin by analyzing self. more...

In the struggle for human rights and justice, Negros will make a mistake if they become bitter and indulge in hate campaigns. more...

Jesus is not an impractical idealist; he is the practical realist. more...

Let us be practical and ask the question: How do we love our enemies? more...

There are often multiple sources for some famous statements by King; as a professional speaker and minister he used some significant phrases with only slight variation many times in his essays, books, and his speeches to different audiences. more...

There is something wrong with our world, something fundamentally and basically wrong. more...

We must follow nonviolence and love. more...

You cannot solve the problem by turning to communism, for communism is based on an ethical relativism and a metaphysical materialism that no Christian can accept. more...

We are challenged to develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone, no nation can live alone, and anyone who feels that he can live alone is sleeping through a revolution. The world in which we live is geographically one. more...

We must see the great distinction between a reform movement and a revolutionary movement. We are called upon to raise certain basic questions about the whole society . . . . What America must be told today is that she must be born again. The whole structure of American life must be changed. more...

Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose... one of the great problems of history is that the concepts of love and power have usually been contrasted as opposites - polar opposites - so that love is identified with a resignation of power, and power with a denial of love... What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love. more...

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. more...

I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live. more...

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others? more...

Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. more...

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?" more...

The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. more...

To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing. more...

Justice is love correcting that which revolts against love. more...

It all boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. more...

Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life's difficulties. more...

We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters. more...

I am indebted to my wife Coretta, without whose love, sacrifices, and loyalty neither life nor work would bring fulfillment. She has given me words of consolation when I needed them and a well-ordered home where Christian love is a reality. more...

Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart. more...

It's all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps. more...

This faith transforms the whirlwind of despair into a warm and reviving breeze of hope. The words of a motto which a generation ago were commonly found on the wall in the homes of devout persons need to be etched on our hearts: Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. There was no one there. more...

This will be the day when we shall bring into full realization the dream of American democracy - a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few.... more...

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 and relationship to mankind. more...

Unconditional love will have the final word in reality. more...

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. more...

There is such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action. more...

The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific and religious freedom have always been nonconformists. more...

We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear. That old law about "an eye for an eye" leaves everybody blind... The time is always right to do the right thing. Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. more...

The Curse of poverty has no justification in our age...The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty. more...

One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying. more...

I am not afraid of the word tension. more...

A Church that has lost its voice for justice is a Church that has lost its relevance in the world. more...

The Negro is the child of two cultures - Africa and America. The problem is that in the search for wholeness all too many Negroes seek to embrace only one side of their natures. more...

The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage they did not know they had. more...

And you know, it's possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it's possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking. And he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the Levite asked was, "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him? more...

I won't have any money to leave behind. I won't have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. more...

I often feel like saying, when I hear the question 'People aren't ready,' that it's like telling a person who is trying to swim, 'Don't jump in that water until you learn how to swim.' When actually you will never learn how to swim until you get in the water. And I think people have to have an opportunity to develop themselves and govern themselves. more...

So I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord! more...

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition. more...

If you haven't found something worth dying for, you're not fit to live. more...

Be the best of whatever you are. more...

Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere. more...

The softminded person always wants to freeze the moment and hold life in the gripping yoke of sameness. more...

Every man [human being] is an heir to a legacy of dignity and worth more...

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy more...

A religion true to its nature must also be concerned about man's social conditions....A ny religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them is a dry-as-dust religion. more...

Your self-sacrificin g devotion to your purpose in life and your unwavering faith will carry you through times of difficulty. more...

Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose... one of the great problems of history is that the concepts of love and power have usually been contrasted as opposites - polar opposites - so that love is identified with a resignation of power, and power with a denial of love... What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love. more...

Truth is found neither in Marxism nor in traditional capitalism. Each represents a partial truth. Historically capitalism failed to see the truth in collective enterprise, and Marxism failed to see the truth in individual enterprise. Nineteenth century capitalism failed to see that life is social and Marxism failed and still fails to see that life is individual and personal. The Kingdom of God is neither the thesis of individual enterprise nor the antithesis of collective enterprise, but a synthesis which reconciles the truths of both. more...

But I say to you, my friends, there are certain things in our nation and in the world which I am proud to be maladjusted and which I hope all men of good-will will be maladjusted until the good societies realize. more...

There is something in this universe that justifies the biblical writer in saying, "You shall reap what you sow." This is a law-abiding universe. This is a moral universe. It hinges on moral foundations. If we are to make of this a better world, we've got to go back and rediscover that precious value that we've left behind. more...

The most dangerous type of atheism is not theoretical atheism, but practical atheism -that's the most dangerous type. And the world, even the church, is filled up with people who pay lip service to God and not life service. And there is always a danger that we will make it appear externally that we believe in God when internally we don't. We say with our mouths that we believe in him, but we live with our lives like he never existed. That is the ever-present danger confronting religion. That's a dangerous type of atheism. more...

You know my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled by the iron feet of oppression. There comes a time my friends, when people get tired of being plunged across the abyss of humiliation, where they experience the bleakness of nagging despair. There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life's July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November. more...

Whatever we do, we must keep God in the forefront. Let us be Christian in all of our actions. But I want to tell you this evening that it is not enough for us to talk about love, love is one of the pivotal points of the Christian face, faith. There is another side called justice. And justice is really love in calculation. Justice is love correcting that which revolts against love. more...

The decision we must make now is whether we will give our allegiance to outmoded and unjust customs or to the ethical demands of the universe. As Christians we owe our allegiance to God and His will, rather than to man and his folkways more...

An individual has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow horizons of his particular individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. And this is one of the big problems of life, that so many people never quite get to the point of rising above self. And so they end up the tragic victims of self-centeredness. They end up the victims of distorted and disrupted personality. more...

My friends, all I'm trying to say is that if we are to go forward today, we've got to go back and rediscover some mighty precious values that we've left behind. That's the only way that we would be able to make of our world a better world, and to make of this world what God wants it to be and the real purpose and meaning of it. more...

Our world hinges on moral foundations. God has made it so. God has made the universe to be based on a moral law. So long as man disobeys it he is revolting against God. That's what we need in the world today: people who will stand for right and goodness. more...

The Christians who engaged in infamous persecutions and shameful inquisitions were not evil men but misguided men. The churchmen who felt they had an edict from God to withstand the progress of science, whether in the form of a Copernican revolution or a Darwinian theory of natural selection, were not mischievous men but misinformed men. And so Christ's words from the cross are written in sharp-edged terms across some of the most inexpressible tragedies of history: 'They know not what they do'. more...

We must work passionately and indefatigably to bridge the gulf between our scientific progress and our moral progress. One of the great problems of mankind is that we suffer from a poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. more...

What seems so necessary today may not even be desirable tomorrow. more...

There is some good in the worst of us, and some evil in the best of us. more...

It all boils down to the fact that we must never allow ourselves to become satisfied with unattained goals. We must always maintain a kind of divine discontent. more...

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor in America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours. more...

A second basic fact that characterizes nonviolence is that it does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding. more...

When I am commanded to love, I am commanded to restore community, to resist injustice, and to meet the needs of my brothers. more...

We must develop a federal program of public works, retraining, and jobs for all - so that none, white or black, will have cause to feel threatened . . . There is nothing except shortsightedness to prevent us from guaranteeing an annual minimum and livable income for every American family. more...

We can't slow up because of our love for democracy and our love for America. Someone should tell Faulkner that the vast majority of the people on this globe are colored. more...

The 'tide in the affairs of men' does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: 'Too late...' more...

There is nothing more tragic in all the world than to know right and not to do it. more...

We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. more...

We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody, that is far superior to the discords of war. more...

We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization. more...

We can dream of an America, and a world, in which love and not money are civilization's bottom line. more...

I just want to do God's will. more...

A productive and happy life is not something you find; it is something you make. more...

Our children need our presence, not our presents. more...

The supreme task is to organize and unite people so that their anger becomes a transforming force. more...

Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service. more...

In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be... This is the inter-related structure of reality. more...

Now let me say that the next thing we must be concerned about if we are to have peace on earth and good will toward men is the nonviolent affirmation of the sacredness of all human life. Every man is somebody because he is a child of God. more...

I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic. more...

Capitalism started out with a noble and high motive, but like most human systems it fell victim to the very thing it was revolting against. more...

I think in this phase, after the Negro emerges in and from the desegregated society, then a great deal of time must be spent in improving standards which lag behind to a large extent because of segregation,discrimination, and the legacy of slavery. more...

I'm thinking of love in action and not something where you say, "Love your enemies," and just leave it at that, but you love your enemies to the point that you're willing to sit-in at a lunch counter in order to help them find themselves. You're willing to go to jail. more...

I think a revolution can survive without single centralized leadership. more...

I do think there must be centralized leadership in the sense that, say, in our struggle all of the leaders coordinate their efforts, cooperate and, and at least evince a degree of unity. more...

I think if we, say, if all of the major leaders in this struggle [for human's rights] were at, at war with each other, then I think it would be very difficult to make this social revolution the kind of powerful revolution that it's proved to be. more...

I think there can be a collective leadership. Maybe some symbolize the struggle [for human's rights] a little more than others, but I think it's absolutely necessary for the leadership to be united in order to make the revolution effective. more...

If we get setbacks and if something happens where the Civil Rights Bill is watered down, for instance, if the Negro feels that he can do nothing but move from one ghetto to another and one slum to another, the despair and the disappointment will be so great that it will be very difficult to keep the struggle disciplined and nonviolent. more...

Wherever schools can be integrated through the busing method, and where it won't be just a, a terrible inconvenience, I think it ought to be done. more...

I think the inconveniences of a segregated education are much greater than the inconveniences of busing students so that they can get an integrated quality education. more...

I feel that when a white child goes to school only with white children, unconsciously that child grows up in many instances devoid of a world perspective. There is an unconscious provincialism, and it can develop into an unconscious superiority complex just as a Negro develops an unconscious inferiority complex. more...

I think one can live in American society with a certain cultural heritage, whether it's an African heritage or other, European,what have you, and still absorb a great deal of this culture. There is always cultural assimilation. more...

I think that we've got to come to see this. The Negro is an American. more...

We know nothing about Africa, although our roots are there in terms of our forbearers. But I mean as far as the average Negro today, he knows nothing about Africa. And I think he's got to face the fact that he is an American, his culture is basically American, and one becomes adjusted to this when he realizes what, what he is. more...

Our destiny is tied up with the destiny of America. more...

[Malcolm X] had said a great deal about nonviolence, criticizing nonviolence, and saying that I approved of Negro men and women being bitten by dogs and the fire hoses, and I say, say go on and not defend yourself. I think this kind of response grew out of the build up, all of the talk about my being a sort of polished Uncle Tom. more...

[People] don't see that there's a great deal of a difference between nonresistance to evil and nonviolent resistance. more...

Certainly I'm not saying that you sit down and patiently accept injustice. I'm talking about a very strong force, where you stand up with all your might against an evil system, and you are not a coward. more...

You are resisting, but you've come to see that tactically as well as morally, it is better to be nonviolent.If one would, didn't want to deal with the moral questions, it would just be impractical for the Negro to talk about making his struggle a violent one. more...

Many people in Harlem never go out of Harlem. I mean they'd never even been downtown. And you can see how this bitterness can accumulate. Here you see people crowded and hovered up in ghettos and slums with no hope.They see no way out. more...

It's very easy for one talking about violence and hatred for the white man to appeal to [Negro from ghetto]. I have never thought of this, but I think this is quite true, that if, even if you talk to them about nonviolence from a tactical point of view, they can't quite see it because they don't even know they're outnumbered. more...

I had a very depressing response because I realized that these were my own people, these were Negroes throwing eggs at me. I'm concerned about the fact that maybe all of us have contributed to this by not working harder to get rid of the conditions, the poverty, the social isolation, and all of the conditions that cause individuals to respond like this. more...

Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything and so popular that it will include everybody. Not a few men who cherish lofty and noble ideals hide them under a bushel for fear of being called different. more...

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

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. more...

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others. In dangerous valleys and hazardous pathways, he will lift some bruised and beaten brother to a higher and more noble life. more...


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