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So much has transpired—both good and unfortunate—in the 50 years that have passed since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was felled by an assassin’s bullet. And though this day commemorates the anniversary of that fateful day, it feels right to focus our attention on the life that he lived while here, instead of lamenting his untimely martyrdom.

It’s in that spirit that we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with 100 of his most powerful quotes. #MLK50Forward

Quotes 1-25

  • “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”
  • “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. ”
  • “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 mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”
  • “We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”
  • “There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breadth.”
  • “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.”
  • “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.”
  • “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
  • “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.”
  • “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.”
  • “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.”
  • “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”
  • “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.”
  • “A lie cannot live.”
  • “The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows”
  • “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.”
  • “He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”
  • “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.”
  • “There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”
  • “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.”
  • “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.”
  • “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”
  • “It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.”
  • “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.”
  • “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”
DeWayne Rogers

I write. I create. I take photos. In my spare time, I'm also a part-time super-hero. Go figure.