Martin Luther King, Jr., Quotations

Updated June 13, 2022 | Erin Teare

Press on and keep pressing . . .

If you will protest courageously, and yet with dignity and Christian love, when the history books are written in future generations, the historians will have to pause and say, "There lived a great people—a Black people—who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization."
From an address given in Montgomery, Ala., Dec. 31, 1955
Martin Luther King Jr. Leads March for Civil Rights
The question is not whether we will be extremist but what kind of extremist will we be.
From "Letter from Birmingham Jail," April 16, 1963
We are not makers of history. We are made by history.
From Strength to Love, 1963
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
From the "I Have a Dream" speech, Aug. 28, 1963
There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.
From "Letter from Birmingham Jail," April 16, 1963
We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.
From "Letter from Birmingham Jail," April 16, 1963
Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
From Strength to Love, 1963
I decided early to give my life to something eternal and absolute. Not to these little gods that are here today and gone tomorrow, but to God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
From "Rediscovering Lost Values," Feb. 28, 1954
Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them.
From a speech given to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Aug. 16, 1967
I just want to do God's will. And he’s allowed me to go to the mountain. And 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.
From an address given in Memphis the night before his assassination, April 3, 1968
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.
Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, Dec. 10, 1964
Martin Luther King Jr. 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.
From the "I Have a Dream" speech, Aug. 28, 1963
The sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.
From the "I Have a Dream" speech, Aug. 28, 1963
Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.
The Measure of a Man, 1958
A riot is the language of the unheard.
From an address given in Birmingham, Ala., Dec. 31, 1963
From the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire, let freedom ring. From the mighty mountains of New York, let freedom ring. From the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania, let freedom ring. But not only that: Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From the "I Have a Dream" speech, Aug. 28, 1963
Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.
From "Letter from Birmingham Jail," April 16, 1963
If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.
On learning of threats on his life, June 5, 1964


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