On Monday, Jan. 16, the nation will celebrate the life of trailblazing civil rights activist, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as his words on freedom and equality — that continue to resonate with us today.
While his death was nearly five decades ago, his mission to guide us as we strive to become a more perfect union amid several forms of oppression in the present day, is certainly still a work in progress.
So, in honor of Dr. King, who gave his very life for equality — we’ve gathered some of his most soul-stirring quotes on hope and freedom. Quotes that you should know and pass along.
On love and power:
“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.”
– Sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, 1957
On the true meaning of peace:
“True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”
– Stride Toward Freedom, 1958
On doing what is right:
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
– Oberlin College Commencement Speech, 1965
On resisting hatred:
“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. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”
– “I Have a Dream,” 1963
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
– Strength to Love, 1963
On combatting hatred:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
— Strength to Love, 1963
On God’s promise:
“We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now because I’ve been to the mountaintop . . . 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.”
— “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop,” 1968