Martin Luther King Quotes


Martin Luther King is remembered as one of the most powerful and inspiring orators in American history. His speeches about freedom, non-violence, equality, and other civil issues have inspired countless Americans both in the past and present. King was a clergyman and the leader of the civil rights movement for African Americans, and his ambition was to put an end to racial discrimination and promote human rights through non-violent protests and other activities. His human rights activities culminated in the “March on Washington” in 1963, where he delivered the famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

According to a background check, Martin Luther King was assassinated on the 4th of April, 1968, but his spirit and great speeches continue to live in the hearts of Americans until this very day. In 1986, a national holiday was declared in his honor. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day occurs on the 3rd Monday in the month of January every year, and it is celebrated throughout the country, in remembrance of the man who transformed American consciousness forever.

Martin Luther King Speeches and Quotes

The Negro and the Constitution (The Cornellian, May of 1994)

"The spirit of Lincoln still lives; that spirit born of the teachings of the Nazarene, who promised mercy to the merciful, who lifted the lowly, strengthened the weak, ate with publicans, and made the captives free. In the light of this divine example, the doctrines of demagogues shiver in their chaff."

"America experiences a new birth of freedom in her sons and daughters; she incarnates the spirit of her martyred chief. Their loyalty is repledged; their devotion renewed to the work He left unfinished. My heart throbs anew in the hope that inspired by the example of Lincoln, imbued with the spirit of Christ, they will cast down the last barrier to perfect freedom. And I with my brother of blackest hue possessing at last my rightful heritage and holding my head erect, may stand beside the Saxon - a Negro - and yet a man!"

An Autobiography of Religious Development (Essay, November of 1950)

"Even though I have never had an abrupt conversion experience, religion has been real to me and closely knitted to life. In fact the two cannot be separated; religion for me is life."

"It is quite easy for me to think of a God of Love, mainly because I grew up in a family where love was central and where lovely relationships were ever present."

 

Letter from Birmingham Jail (April of 1963)

"I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the eighth century prophets left their little villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his little village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to practically every hamlet and city of the Graeco-Roman world, I too am compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my particular home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid."

 

"A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of Saint Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law."

 

"Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was seen sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar because a higher moral law was involved. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks, before submitting to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire."

 

"We have waited for more than three hundred and forty years for our constitutional and God-given rights."

 

"Was not Jesus an extremist for love - "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice - "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ - "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist - "Here I stand; I can do none other so help me God." Was not John Bunyan an extremist - "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." Was not Abraham Lincoln an extremist - "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." Was not Thomas Jefferson an extremist - "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." So the question is not whether we will be extremist, but what kind of extremist will we be. Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or will we be extremists for the cause of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill, three men were crucified. We must not forget that all three were crucified for the same crime - the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thusly, fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness, and thereby, rose above his environment."

 

Address at March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (August of 1963)

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed - we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal."

 

"This will be the day; this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!""

 

"And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

 

"Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."

 

Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech (December of 1964)

"Most of these people will never make the headlines and their names will not appear in Who's Who. Yet when years have rolled past and when the blazing light of truth is focused on this marvelous age in which we live-- men and women will know and children will be taught that we have a finer land, a better people, a more noble civilization - because these humble children of God were willing to suffer for righteousness' sake."

 

"I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive goodwill will proclaim the rule of the land."

 

 

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