10 Martin Luther King Quotes We Love

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a civil rights leader, clergyman, and activist. On January 17, 2011 we honor him and all he did for equality in the United States with a full day of remembrance.

Most of us are well aware that Dr. King had a dream. His "I have a dream" is by far his most well known speech. Even today, it has more than 10,000,000 hits on YouTube alone. Here is an excerpt:

From every mountainside, let freedom ring. When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"


As inspirational as that particular speech was, it wasn't his only speech. He was a brilliant orator before he was assassinated on April 4, 1968 at the age of 39.

His death is made all the more tragic because of all the work that was still left to do and what might have happened had he not been shot by James Earl Ray that horrible day. His words have special meaning today because we are in the midst of such a painful time both economically and spiritually.

The Arizona shooting and ongoing war and political polarization have led many of us to think there is no hope, but Dr. King can inspire us to remember that times have been much, much worse and the human -- and American -- spirit can endure.

Here are 10 more quotes from Dr. King:

  • "A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan."
  • "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom. "
  • "Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal."
  • "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
  • "Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies -- or else? The chain reaction of evil -- hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars -- must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation."
  • "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 submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live."
  • "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
  • "Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness."
  • "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

What is your favorite quote from Dr. King?


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