10 Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes on CourageFew leaders of change have so successfully exemplified the concept of courage the way Martin Luther King Jr. was able to in his legacy as one of the United States’ most prominent civil rights activists. Keep reading to learn the top 10 Martin Luther King Jr. quotes on courage.

10 Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes on Courage

  1. “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.” – From an interview with Dr. King
  2. “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 … The degree to which we are able to forgive determines the degree to which we are able to love our enemies.” – From A Gift of Love, a collection of 16 select sermons delivered by Martin Luther King Jr.
  3. “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.” – In a speech at a college rally
  4. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – From King’s famous, I Have A Dream speech
  5. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – From a letter written in a Birmingham Jail, April 1963
  6. Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles. Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances. Courage breeds creativity; Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it. Cowardice asks the question, is it safe? Expediency asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience asks the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.” – From Martin Luther King Jr.’s autobiography
  7. “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” – From “The Domestic Impact of War”, 1967
  8. “We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.” – From a speech in February 1968
  9. “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” – From a speech given in October 1962
  10. “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” From A Testament to Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

Courage is the first step to growth, especially when the growth occurs in spite of unjust circumstances. Remembering these top 10 Martin Luther King Jr. quotes on Courage quotes may be the perfect catalyst to push one forward on whichever path they choose.

– Fatemeh Zahra Yarali
Photo: Flickr

Facts about Martin Luther King Jr
Martin Luther King Jr. is arguably the most influential black leader in American history. He spearheaded a nationwide effort to end legal segregation while working to enact such laws as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  His most famous speech continues to be a staple in American culture. Discussed below are five interesting facts about Martin Luther King Jr.


Top 5 Facts About Martin Luther King Jr.


  1. King’s father was born Michael King, but changed his name in 1931 in reverence to the German theologian Martin Luther.
  2. After 12-year-old Martin learned that his grandmother had died from a heart attack in May 1941, he was so distraught that he jumped from a second story window of their house.
  3. Martin was almost assassinated before many of his famous civil rights accomplishments in the early 1960s. Izola Ware Curry approach Martin at a book signing for “Stride Towards Freedom.” After receiving confirmation that he was indeed Martin Luther King Jr. she exclaimed “I’ve been looking for you for five years” and stabbed Martin in the chest with a letter opener.  The blade pressed against his aorta and took several hours of careful surgery to remove.
  4. Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 at the age of 35.  This made him the youngest male recipient of the prestigious award.  He donated the entire prize of $54,123 (now equivalent to $400,000) to the civil rights movement. Martin won dozens more awards for his work including the Medal of Freedom, Congressional Gold Medal, and a Grammy.  The Grammy was for Best Spoken Word Album, awarded in 1971 for King’s “Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam.”
  5. Martin Luther King Jr. was targeted by the FBI for being “the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro, and national security.”  Records of Martin taken by the FBI are held in the National Achieve but remain sealed from public access until 2027.

These facts about Martin Luther King Jr. provide but a glimpse into the life of a man whose work is still so vital to the progress of U.S. society and democracy.

Sunny Bhatt

Sources: Today I Found Out, Biography
Photo: WP

People with disabilities make up one of the largest minorities in the U.S. with 75 percent who are unemployed and more than 25 percent living in poverty.

However, some social and economic challenges the disabled face are not the consequence of physical limitations but are the result of a lack of accessibility provided by public policy. One leading national civil rights law and policy center is trying to change this by advancing the civil rights of people with disabilities through legal advocacy, training, education, public policy and legislative development. The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, or DREDF, has worked toward advocating for the disabled since 1979.

The DREDF is directed by people with disabilities and by those who have children with disabilities. Thus, people with disabilities are able to serve and be served in the areas that fall under their expertise, as these are issues they face everyday. They work with the core principles of equality of opportunity, disability accommodation, accessibility and inclusion to fulfill their mission and vision of a just world where all people can live full and independent lives free of discrimination.

They do this by employing the following strategies:

1.  Training and Education

  • DREDF staff trains and educates people with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities about their rights under state and federal disability rights laws so that they can use the laws as tools to challenge exclusion.
  • The DREDF educates lawyers, service providers, government officials and others about disability civil rights laws and policies.
  • Through a legal clinic in the San Francisco Bay Area, DREDF has operated a disability rights legal clinic in collaboration with law schools for over 15 years.

2.  Legal Advocacy

  • DREDF lawyers represent clients in leading edge disability rights litigation.
  • DREDF serves as co-counsel and prepares briefs on behalf of parties that include disability community representatives and members of Congress in disability rights cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • DREDF advocates for the legal rights of all people.

3.   Public Policy and Legislative Development

  • DREDF advocates design and implement strategies that strengthen public policy and lead to the enactment of federal and state laws protecting and advancing civil rights for people with disabilities, such as the Handicapped Children’s Protect Action.

The DREDF also runs an ongoing campaign for healthcare justice for people with disabilities called Healthcare Stories, which is a video advocacy tool that tells the stories of real people with disabilities facing healthcare disparities.

Chelsee Yee

Sources: DREDF, USICD, Law Help CA,
Photo: Google+

free speech in sri lanka
The Sri Lankan government’s crackdown on NGO’s this month has initiated claims that President Mahinda Rajapakse is paranoid he will be overthrown, and is quieting critics to strengthen his control and power.

The defense ministry has banned NGO’s from disseminating press releases and holding awareness campaigns, press conferences, workshops and training for journalists. They claimed the ban was necessary in order to stop NGO’s from functioning “beyond their mandate.” The minister said the administration is worried that NGO’s will fuel criticism of Rajapakse and his family.

“The government panicked when they heard that USAID was trying to educate voters about their rights,” the minister said.

However, NGO workers claim that the ban was cracking down on dissent right before the presidential elections. They say it is unconstitutional and violates basic rights of free speech in Sri Lanka.

Civil rights groups have long highlighted problems for the media in Sri Lanka, where most journalists have to practice self-censorship due to the killings of media workers and journalists in recent years.

Activists and civil rights groups have burned notices issued by the government that demand NGO’s to not engage in activities that are “outside the groups’ mandate.” Almost 1,500 NGOs have gotten notices from the government.

Protesters chanted and carried banners during a rally that took place in the capital city of Colombo to protest against the government’s crackdown on free speech in Sri Lanka.

Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, executive director of the Center for Policy Alternatives said that the government’s ban violates the rule of law and the basic principles of a democracy. He said it is an attempt to hush alternative public opinions of citizens.

The United States government has voiced worry over the crackdown on free speech in Sri Lanka.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki urges the government of Sri Lanka to, “…allow civil society organizations and NGO’s, which play a vital role in supporting Sri Lanka’s democratic values, to operate freely.”

– Colleen Moore

Sources: Global Post, NDTV, UCANews, ColomboPage
Photo: Kuwait Times

1. “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

2. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

3. “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is people who have made poverty and tolerated poverty, and it is people who will overcome it. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”

4. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

5. “Difficulties break some men, but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.”

6. “For to be free is not to merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

7. “A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.”

8. “Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”

9. “I was called a terrorist yesterday, but when I came out of jail, many people embraced me, including my enemies, and that is what I normally tell other people who say those who are struggling for liberation in their country are terrorists. I tell them that I was also a terrorist yesterday, but, today, I am admired by the very people who said I was one.”

10. “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.

11. “I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days.”

12. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

13. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

14. “It is now in the hands of your generations to help rid the world of such suffering.”

15. “Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished”

– Stephanie Lamm

Sources: Dose.Ca, USA Today, Quartz
Photo: BBC UK

Rolihlahla  Nelson Mandela was born in Qunu, South Africa on July 18, 1918. He was the youngest son of Nonqaphi Nosekeni and Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela. His father was the principle advisor to the Acting King of Thembu, Jongintaba Dalindyebo. When Mandela was a child, his father died and he became a ward of Jongintaba Dalindyebo and lived in the Great Palace in Mqhekezweni. He attended primary school in Qunu and his teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave him the Christian name Nelson.

During Nelson Mandela’s early life, he was raised hearing stories of war and oppression from his elders and knew from a young age that he wanted to make a contribution to freeing his people. He attended Clarkebury Boarding Institute and then went to Healdtown for secondary school. Nelson Mandela first attended the University College of Fort Hare but was expelled for participating in a student protest. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of South Africa.

The King had arranged a wife for him when he graduated but idea of arranged marriage made Mandela flee Qunu and head to Johannesburg.  He worked as a mine security officer and then law at the University of the Witwatersrand and later at The University of London. He was a poor student though and never finished his law degree.

His political life started in 1942 when he joined the African National Conference, (ANC) an organization that lobbied to the South African government for African rights and political change. Mandela was an influential member of ANC and he helped form the ANC Youth League.  In 1948, the South African government instituted apartheid, apartheid was a government-instituted segregation of people based on their race that oppressed non-whites.  ANC and Mandela instituted passive resistance including non-violent protests, boycotts, and non-confirmation to apartheid polices and rules.

In 1944 Mandela married a nurse, Evelyn Mase. They had two sons Madiba Thembekile ‘Thembi’ and Makgatho and daughter named Makaziwe who died at at young age. They later had another daughter who they also named Makaziwe. The couple separated in 1955 and later divorced.

In 1952, Mandela became one of the ANC’s deputy presidents. The ANC Youth League with Mandela’s help implemented The Programme of Action, a racial mass-based policy.  In 1956 Mandela went on trial for treason and five years later was acquitted.  The government began to shut down all anti-apartheid groups and ANC was declared an illegal organization and shut down in 1960.

Lisa Toole 

Sources: Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Fund, Nelson Mandela Foundation, BBC
Photo: This Bug Life