20 Influential MLK Quotes

As an influential leader and a revolutionary of the Civil Rights movement, the various wise words of Martin Luther King Jr. still ring among us today. His actions were an aiding pendulum that help set in motion the equal rights of all races.

50 years following his “I Have a Dream” speech, the words still resonate a powerful meaning amongst society, and the effects of his speech are felt even to this day.

Comprised below is a list of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous quotes:

1. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

2. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”

3. “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.”

4. “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

5. “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

6. “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.”

7. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

8. “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

9. “We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely being to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.”

10. “Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.”

11. “Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”

12. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

13. “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.”

14. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

15. “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.”

16. “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

17. “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

18. “We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the positive affirmation of peace.”

19. “The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a greater one.”

20. “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

– Samaria Garrett

Sources: MLK Day, Parade
Photo: Seattle Times