Martin Luther King Jr Quotes

Quotes tagged as "martin-luther-king-jr" Showing 1-30 of 228
Martin Luther King Jr.
“One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying. A persistent schizophrenia leaves so many of us tragically divided against ourselves. On the one hand, we proudly profess certain sublime and noble principles, but on the other hand, we sadly practise the very antithesis of these principles. How often are our lives characterised by a high blood pressure of creeds and an anaemia of deeds! 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 practise the very opposite of the democratic creed. We talk passionately about peace, and at the same time we assiduously prepare for war. We make our fervent pleas for the high road of justice, and then we tread unflinchingly the low road of injustice. This strange dichotomy, this agonising gulf between the ought and the is, represents the tragic theme of man's earthly pilgrimage.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love

Robert F. Kennedy
“We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization - black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love.... What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”
Robert F. Kennedy

Martin Luther King Jr.
“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.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mark Long
“In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies...but the silence of our friends.

- Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Mark Long, The Silence of Our Friends

Theodore Parker
“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight, I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”
Theodore Parker, The present aspect of slavery in America and the immediate duty of the North: a speech delivered in the hall of the State house, before the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Convention, on Friday night, January 29, 1858

Martin Luther King Jr.
“Three hundred years of humiliation, abuse and deprivation cannot be expected to find voice in a whisper.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Why We Can't Wait

Christopher Hitchens
“For years, I declined to fill in the form for my Senate press credential that asked me to state my 'race,' unless I was permitted to put 'human.' The form had to be completed under penalty of perjury, so I could not in conscience put 'white,' which is not even a color let alone a 'race,' and I sternly declined to put 'Caucasian,' which is an exploded term from a discredited ethnology. Surely the essential and unarguable core of King's campaign was the insistence that pigmentation was a false measure: a false measure of mankind (yes, mankind) and an inheritance from a time of great ignorance and stupidity and cruelty, when one drop of blood could make you 'black.”
Christopher Hitchens

Martin Luther King Jr.
“Mother Dear, one day I'm going to turn this world upside down."

--From My Brother Martin, by Christine King Farris”
Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.
“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.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Jonathan Anthony Burkett
“I understand we all have our differences. But while learning about history I've read about white people coming together, Jews coming together, Spanish coming together, different cultures and religions understanding and coming together despite their differences. Slavery was never something that shocked me. What shocks me is how black people have not yet overcome the odds and we're such strong smart people. Why we can't just stand together?”
Jonathan Anthony Burkett

Martin Luther King Jr.
“The ultimate logic of racism is genocide,
and if one says that one is not good enough to have a job that is a solid quality job, if one is not
good enough to have access to public accommodations, if one is not good enough to have the
right to vote, if one is not good enough to live next door to him, if one is not good enough to
marry his daughter because of his race. Then at that moment, that person is saying that that
person who is not good to do all of this is not fit to exist or to live. And that is the ultimate logic of racism.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

Israelmore Ayivor
“Never undermine the power of passion. You have a very high chance of achieving anything you are passionate about.”
Israelmore Ayivor, Leaders' Frontpage: Leadership Insights from 21 Martin Luther King Jr. Thoughts

Timothy B. Tyson
“The self-congratulatory popular account insists that Dr. King called on the nation to fully accept its own creed, and the walls came a-tumbling down. This conventional narrative is soothing, moving, and politically acceptable, and has only the disadvantage of bearing no resemblance to what actually happened.”
Timothy B. Tyson, Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story

James H. Cone
“For [Martin Luther] King nonviolence was more than a strategy; it was the way of life defined by love for others—the only way to heal broken humanity.”
James H. Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree

Christopher Hitchens
“Mrs. Clinton, speaking to a black church audience on Martin Luther King Day last year, did describe President George W. Bush as treating the Congress of the United States like 'a plantation,' adding in a significant tone of voice that 'you know what I mean ...'

She did not repeat this trope, for some reason, when addressing the electors of Iowa or New Hampshire. She's willing to ring the other bell, though, if it suits her. But when an actual African-American challenger comes along, she rather tends to pout and wince at his presumption (or did until recently).”
Christopher Hitchens

“In its essence, Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech is one citizen’s soul-searing plea with his countrymen––Whites and Blacks––to recognize that racial disparities fueled by unwarranted bigotry were crippling America’s ability to shine as a true beacon of democracy in a world filled with people groping their way through suffocating shadows of political turmoil, economic oppression, military mayhem, starvation, and disease.”
Aberjhani, Illuminated Corners: Collected Essays and Articles Volume I.

Maya Angelou
“Rev. [Martin Luther] King continued, chanting, singing his prophetic litany. We were one people, indivisible in the sight of God, responsible to each other and for each other.

We, the black people, the most displaced, the poorest, the most maligned and scourged, we had the glorious task of reclaiming the soul and saving the honor of the country. We, the most hated, must take hate into our hands and by the miracle of love, turn loathing into love. We, the most feared and apprehensive, must take fear and by love, change it into hope. We, who die daily in large and small ways, must take the demon death and turn it into Life.

His head was thrown back and his words rolled out with the rumbling of thunder. We had to pray without ceasing and work without tiring. We had to know evil will not forever stay on the throne. That right, dashed to the ground, will rise, rise again and again.”
Maya Angelou, The Heart of a Woman

Colson Whitehead
“A jail within a jail. In those long hours, he struggled over Reverend King's equation. "Throw us in jail and we will love you ... But be assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom. We will not only win our freedom for ourselves, we will so appeal to your heart and your conscience that we will win you in the process and our victory will be a double victory." No he could not make that leap to love. He understood neither the impulse of the proposition nor the will to execute it.”
Colson Whitehead, The Nickel Boys

Israelmore Ayivor
“Leadership is self-made. People who have deliberately decided to become problems solver lead better.”
Israelmore Ayivor, Leaders' Frontpage: Leadership Insights from 21 Martin Luther King Jr. Thoughts

Israelmore Ayivor
“Try not to leave your work for someone else to do. If possible, carry the work of someone and add it to yours. That's a trait of leaders!”
Israelmore Ayivor, Leaders' Frontpage: Leadership Insights from 21 Martin Luther King Jr. Thoughts

“We have to stand up for what is right--
work, march, struggle for what is right--
but we must stay vigilant that it is for the good of all”
Shellen Lubin

Colson Whitehead
“HE remembered looking "agape" in his encyclopedia volume after he read Dr. King's speech in the DEFENDER. The newspaper ran the address in full after the reverend's appearance at Cornell College. If Elwood had come across the word before, through all those years of skipping around the book, it hadn't stuck in his head. King described "agape" as a divine love operating in the heart of man. A selfless love, an incandescent love, the highest there is. He called upon his Negro audience to cultivate that pure love for their oppressors, that it might carry them to the other side of the struggle.

Elwood tried to get his head around it, now that it was no longer the abstraction floating in his head last spring. It was real now.

"Throw us in jail and we will still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and, as difficult as it is, we will still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities after midnight hours, and drag us out onto some wayside road, and beat us and leave us half-dead, and we will still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom.

The capacity to suffer. Elwood--all the Nickel boys--existed in the capacity. Breathed in it, ate in it, dreamed in it. That was their lives now. Otherwise they would have perished. The beatings, the rapes, the unrelenting winnowing of themselves. They endured. But to love those who destroyed them? To make that leap? "We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we will still love you."

Elwood shook his head. What a thing to ask. What an impossible thing.”
Colson Whitehead, The Nickel Boys

bell hooks
“I think one of the most wonderful books that Martin Luther King wrote was Strength to Love. I always liked it because of the word 'strength,' which counters the Western notion of love as easy. Instead, Martin Luther King said that you must have courage to love, that you have to have a profound will to do what is right to love, that it does not come easy.”
bell hooks

Susan Wiggs
“They just started throwing these canisters. One of them hit me so I lobbed it back.”
“Nothing at all would have hit you if you’d been minding your business.”
“And nothing will change if nobody takes action against injustice. Remember when you and Mama took me to hear Dr. King speak? Remember what he said? ‘We die when we refuse to stand up for justice.”
Susan Wiggs, Sugar and Salt

“Daddy said, in 'I Have a Dream', this is a part that most people missed in his speech, 'We must forever conduct ourselves on the high plane of dignity and discipline.' He was talking about how we talk, too. Words are power. [...] Death and life and the power of the tongue. You can murder somebody with your tongue. So when people say 'I'm not violent' because they don't do anything physically, it's not that. For some reason, people think love is some namby-pamby weak kind of thing. It's not. [...] Nonviolence for us is a love-centered way of thinking.”
Dr. Bernice A. King

“Martin Luther King, Jr. hoped for a color-blind society, but only as oppression and racism were destroyed.”
Michael Eric Dyson, I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ibram X. Kendi
“I saw poor Blacks as the product of racism and not capitalism, largely because I thought I knew racism but knew I did not know capitalism. But it is impossible to know racism without understanding its intersection with capitalism. As Martin Luther King said in his critique of capitalism in 1967, "It means ultimately coming to see that 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.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist

Peniel E. Joseph
“Martin Luther King Jr., on April 4, 1967, at the Riverside Church, he speaks out against the Vietnam War. People push back against King. They tell him he's not patriotic. In that speech, he says that there comes a time when silence is betrayal. He says he's about to say this criticism because he loves the country, not because he hates the country. He also, in the same speech, says America is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. But he says it's going to be a bitter but beautiful struggle to transform America, because he says the goal of America is freedom.

Now, that's perfect. That's brilliant. That's beautiful. He's telling us all the different sides of our country and he's inspiring us to do something about it - right? - but he's also not calling us villains. He's saying that we can actually transform and create and build this beloved community. But King wants us to tell the story of poor people, farm workers. He wants us to end militarization and materialism and racism. So what I think, again, I think everything comes down to storytellers and the story, everything. And I - and I'm serious about that. And so we need to tell ourselves a different story about America.”
Peniel E. Joseph

“We whitewash MLK - how fittingly absurd.
I mean, we white-wash

We have to stop revering MLK for the wrong reasons,
like Santa Claus
and Jesus Christ.

He was vehemently anti-racism, anti-oppression,
anti-war, anti-materialism,
pro-union, pro-social-services, anti-capitalism.
MLK believed capitalism had outlived its usefulness
and advocated democratic socialism.”
Shellen Lubin

“MLK was not generally revered during his lifetime;
He was decried and vilified by the mainstream (white) media.
MLK had Cassandra vision,
and was unstoppable even in death.
Less stoppable in death.

For MLK Day today,
please let's read his most challenging proclamations
and let us revere him for them.”
Shellen Lubin

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