Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the African-American civil rights movement. His main legacy was to secure progress on civil rights in the United States and he is frequently referenced as a human rights icon today.
Quotes By Martin Luther King, Jr.
"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."
"A lie cannot live."
"A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan."
"A right delayed is a right denied."
"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."
"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."
"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live."
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
"Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal."
"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
"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."
"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."
"The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict."
"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."
"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."
"The time is always right to do what is right."
"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."
"The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people."
"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."
"We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now."
"We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear."
"When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative."