Martin Luther King Jr. was a significant voice during the American civil rights movement, where he fought for equal rights for all. Martin Luther King Jr.’s quotes on love are filled with humility, courage, compassion and kindness. King continues to inspire people today and will always be remembered for what he stood for.
In 1948, Dr. King earned his sociology degree at Morehouse College. While completing his degree, King met Benjamin E Mays, the president of the college who greatly influenced his spiritual growth. May was a strong advocate for racial equality and believed that King should view Christianity as a force for change in society. Therefore, King applied this to his mission of ending segregation in the south. Through his speeches, King would highlight the importance of spreading love and kindness.
Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes on Love
- “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”In King’s 1957 speech called “Loving Your Enemies”, he explains that once people understand that there is good in those who do evil and evil in those who are good, they are less likely to hate their enemies. King goes on to explain that hating your enemy will only hurt and burden our souls. However, a better solution would be to have love and compassion for our enemies.
- “A man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”In King’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, King accepted the award for his nonviolence resistance to racial prejudice in America. In his speech, King explains that in order to achieve peace people must be willing to change their ways. Therefore, revenge, aggression and retaliation is an ineffective method that only fuels hate. In addition, King mentions he accepts this award on behalf of all the men who love peace and brotherhood.
- “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.”From King’s 1957 speech “Loving your enemies”, King explains the importance of forgiveness and how it is the only way we learn to love our enemies.
- “The beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold.”In King’s 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, King believes that nothing compares to unity and harmony among people.
- “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and that love without power is sentimental and anemic.”From a 1967 speech called “Where Do We Go from Here?” delivered at the annual convention of the Sothern Christian Leadership Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. King explains that power implemented the right way could bring on justice, however when not could cause destruction.
- “In some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested along with others for protesting the injustice against blacks in Birmingham, Alabama. While in jail, King wrote a letter to a newspaper explaining, in which he defends his nonviolent approach against racism.
- “Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”On February 4, 1968, Martin Luther King delivered a speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church called “The Drum Major Instinct” two months prior to his assassination. In this speech, King explains that “the drum major instinct” is the desire and importance to be first. He further explains that issues with racism stem from wanting to be superior to others. King suggested that people should love one another before anything else. King uses Jesus’ life as an example of how humility and love could lead to greatness. King concluded his speech on how he would like to be remembered as someone who dedicated his life to serving others.
These Martin Luther King Jr. quotes on love remind us that King believed in a world where conflicts should be handled peacefully and that even when bitterness seems instinctual, love should always prevail.
– Merna Ibrahim