“I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him or her 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” Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
“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.” Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
“A nation that will keep people in slavery for 244 years will “thingify” them—make them things. Therefore they will exploit them, and poor people generally, economically. And a nation that will exploit economically will have foreign investments and everything else, and will have to use its military to protect them. All of these problems are tied together. What I am saying today is that we must go from this convention and say, ‘America, you must be born again!’” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”
“Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. 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. And so we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. And so we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.” Martin Luther King Jr., Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence
Delivered 4 April 1967, Riverside Church, New York City
“If you haven’t found something worth dying for, you aren’t fit to be living.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
“We often hate each other because we fear each other; we fear each other because we don’t know each other; we don’t know each other because we can not communicate; we can not communicate because we are separated.”
“I am 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 these, 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. Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. August 16, 1967 Southern Christian Leadership Conference Presidential Address “Where Do We Go From Here?” in Testament of Hope: the Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., p. 249
“I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, 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.” — Martin Luther King Jr
“To produce change, people must be organized to work together in units of power.” (Nonviolence, The Only Road To Freedom May 4, 1966)
“When we have our march, you need to be there. If it means leaving work, if it means leaving school, be there. Be concerned about your brother (and sister). You may not be on strike, but either we go together or we go down together. Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness.”
“Never again will I be silent on an issue that is destroying the soul of our nation…”
“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.”
“…disciplined nonviolence totally confused the rulers of the South … They did not know what to do. When they finally reached for clubs, dogs and guns, they found the world was watching, and then the power of nonviolent protest became manifest.”
“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
“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.”
“Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.”
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
“Means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.”
“Means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.”
“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”
“The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”