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

The name of Martin Luther King Jr. is synonymous with the civil rights movement in the United States. Here are five interesting facts about him.

  1. Martin Luther King Jr. was actually born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929. The civil rights leader’s name was changed after his father traveled to Germany and was inspired by the Protestant Reformation Leader Martin Luther. His inspiration resulted in his father changing both his own and Jr’s names.
  2. King excelled in school. He entered college at age 15, attending Morehouse College graduating with a degree in sociology. King earned a divinity degree from Pennsylvania’s Crozer Theological Seminary, and he also attended Boston University where he received his PhD in 1955.
  3. King was jailed 29 times over the course of his life. Most of the reasons he was jailed were for acts of civil disobedience, and utterly ridiculous charges including driving 30mph in a 25mph zone- evidence of the time.
  4. Martin Luther King Jr was the first African American to be named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year. King was also the youngest person, at the time, to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in the civil rights movement.
  5. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech held at the Lincoln Memorial was at the time one of the largest demonstrations in Washington history. More than 250,000 people attended the speech. The speech took place during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  The iconic speech, however, was not King’s first at Lincoln memorial. He delivered his first national address at the monument, where he spoke on the topic of voting rights.

– Caitlin Zusy 



Sources: CNN, History
Photo: Seattle Times

Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American hero and civil rights activist.  His teachings are still an inspiration today and his influence is immortalized in a national holiday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Below are some interesting facts about this great leader:

1. At 35 years old, Martin Luther King, Jr. was the youngest man to have ever received the Nobel peace prize. Currently Tawakkol Karman of Yemen is the youngest winner, at 32.

2. Dr. King worked for Economic Equality, not just civil rights. After the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Dr. King began the Chicago campaign. It targeted the economic reality of segregation and focused attention on the plight of the urban poor in the north.

3. Martin Luther King, Jr. improvised entire parts of the “I Have a Dream” speech, including the famous “dream” passage. It was edited right up to the moment Dr. King began speaking.

4. Dr. King is the only non-president to have national holiday dedicated in his honor and also the only non-president memorialized on Washington D.C.’s Great Mall.

5. In 1963, Dr. King was named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year. King garnered a lot of attention that year for leading the March on Washington and delivering his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

6. While at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, Dr. King was elected president of his senior class, which was predominately white.

7. His Seminary Professor gave him a C+ in a Public speaking course! King was renowned for his great public oration, but even he didn’t master the skill over night.

8. Many Civil Rights Activists did not support the 1963 “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” Some leaders, such as Malcolm X and Storm Thurmond, held different views on the civil rights movements and, at times, disagreed with Dr. King’s approach.

9. Martin Luther King made an impact even while in jail. After being detained for defying an injunction against protests in Birmingham, Dr. King wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” It detailed reasons for acting to change civil rights in Birmingham and around the country and became a monument of the Civil Rights Movement.

10. Mahatma Gandhi and the principle of non-violent action heavily influenced Dr. King. King was introduced to the ideology while at a lecture given in Philadelphia by the president of Howard University.

Martin Luther King, Jr. firmly believed that everyone, regardless of their background, should receive equal treatment under the law and have an opportunity to live, as well as receive education and work without being discriminated against.  This is a message we must remain committed to in our fight against the global inequality that characterizes poverty in the world today.

– Martin Levy

Photo: Richton Park Library
Constitution Center: Five Facts about Martin Luther King, JrThe King Center, BBC,

Below are 10 global poverty quotes from awe-inspiring people like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Winston Churchill.

  • “In this new century, many of the world’s poorest countries remain imprisoned, enslaved and in chains. They are trapped in the prison of poverty. It is time to set them free. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.” – Nelson Mandela
  • “It would be nice if the poor were to get even half of the money that is spent in studying them.”  – Bill Vaughan
  • “True compassion is more than flinging a coin at a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “Witnessing the extreme poverty in remote parts of Africa can make you feel sad and powerless until you realize how little it takes to change these people’s lives fundamentally in sustainable ways.” – John Legend
  • “Such is the scale and depth of poverty in many parts of the world that it won’t be ended overnight. That is why if, like me, you want to see an end to poverty, you need to be in it for the long haul.” – Annie Lennox
  • “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 . . .” – Nelson Mandela
  • “We live in the richest country in the world. There’s plenty to spare and for no man, woman, or child to be in want. And in addition to this our country was founded on what should have been a great, true principle — the freedom, equality, and rights of each individual. Huh! And what has come of this start? There are corporations worth billions of dollars–and hundreds of thousands of people who don’t get to eat.” – Carson McCullers
  • “Pay attention to the hungry, both in this country and around the world. Pay attention to the poor. Pay attention to our responsibilities for world peace. We are our brother’s keeper…” – George McGovern
  • “Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn’t commit.” – Eli Khamarov
  • “Of course I am frustrated with regard to extreme poverty, to violence that never seems to cease. Greed is the key. It’s easy to sit in relative luxury and peace and pontificate on the subject of the Third World debts. Not many of us are willing to give up everything we have. We can however give some, and millions of people do, governments do, but there is so much more to be done.” – Sir Roger Moore


– Chante Owens


Global poverty quotes


On April 4, 1968, the world lost one of the greatest advocates for social change in history. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as the face of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference–one of the most influential civil rights organizations of the era, ushered in a new age of race relations in America. His pacifist demonstrations against racial segregation–from the Montgomery Bus Boycott to his famous March to Selma–caught the attention of journalists, the public and elected officials alike. By demonstrating compassion for all, regardless of color, Dr. King was able to stir the heart of the American people–thereby forming a successful biracial coalition behind the enactment of groundbreaking civil rights legislation that permanently changed millions of lives.

Just as Dr. King’s story continues to inspire progressive social change through political advocacy, grassroots organization and mobilization of the masses today, his words remain relevant to the current sociopolitical context. Although he dedicated his life to addressing domestic injustices, Dr. King was keenly aware of the importance of individual responsibility and collective conscience in an increasingly interconnected world. –His top five offerings of wisdom below:

  1. “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 Address, 1964
  2. “Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor in America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.” The Trumpet of Conscience, 1967
  3. “I am coming to feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than the people of goodwill. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people. We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.” Letter From Birmingham Jail, 1963
  4. “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967
  5. “On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? Conscience asks the question, is it right? 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.” A Proper Sense of Priorities, 1968

– Melrose Huang

Sources: The Huffington Post Nobel Prize Goodreads The King Center
Photo: Russell Moore


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