The world knows Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. best as an American activist. He was also a Baptist Minister and a Nobel Peace Prize award winner because of his nonviolent approach to racial prejudice in America. King was not only an anti-racism activist but also a champion for a number of other human rights issues including poverty.
Even decades after his death, poverty is still an issue across the globe. King believed it was the responsibility of those with the ability to eliminate poverty to do just that; to end the pain and suffering of others. Here are the top Martin Luther King Jr. quotes on poverty which came from his written works.
Top Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes on Poverty
- King’s 1961 “The American Dream” Speech
“As long as there is poverty in this world, no man can be totally rich even if he has a billion dollars.”Read the full speech here.
- King’s Book “Strength to Love”
“God never intended for one group of people to live in superfluous inordinate wealth, while others live in abject deadening poverty.”Read more here.
- King’s 1964 Nobel Peace Prize Address
“A second evil which plagues the modern world is that of poverty…Almost two-thirds of the peoples of the world go to bed hungry at night. They are undernourished, ill-housed, and shabbily clad. Many of them have no houses or beds to sleep in. Their only beds are the sidewalks of the cities and the dusty roads of the villages. Most of these poverty-stricken children of God have never seen a physician or a dentist.”“There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we have the resources to get rid of it.”
“The rich nations must use their vast resources of wealth to develop the underdeveloped, school the unschooled, and feed the unfed. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for ‘the least of these.’”
Watch the acceptance speech here.
- King’s 1968 “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” Sermon
“While millions enjoy an unexampled opulence in developed nations, ten thousand people die of hunger each and every day of the year in the undeveloped world.”Read more here.
- King’s fourth and last book, entitled “Where do we go from Here: Chaos or Community”
“The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.”Read more here.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave many speeches and sermons during his time before his assassination on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. What he was able to accomplish has defined him as a notable leader of history in America and around the world. His legacy lives on as people around the globe continue to fight issues that still exist, like poverty. These top Martin Luther King Jr. quotes on poverty, as well as his other written words, continue to hold meaning for the people fighting to bring awareness to poverty around the globe and end the pain and suffering those in poverty must endure on a daily basis.
– Chelsea Wolfe