Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Love Quotes and Sayings
1. There can be no deep disappointment where there is no deep love.
2. Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.
3. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
4. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.
5. 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.
6. Excerpt from his August 16, 1967 “Where Do We Go From Here” speech.
And I say to you, I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind’s problems. And I’m going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn’t popular to talk about it in some circles today. And I’m not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love; I’m talking about a strong, demanding love. And I have seen too much hate. I’ve seen too much hate on the faces of sheriffs in the South. I’ve seen hate on the faces of too many Klansmen and too many White Citizens Councilors in the South to want to hate, myself, because every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces and their personalities, and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love.
7. Another way that you love your enemy is this: When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it. There will come a time, in many instances, when the person who hates you most, the person who has misused you most, the person who has gossiped about you most, the person who has spread false rumors about you most, there will come a time when you will have an opportunity to defeat that person. It might be in terms of a recommendation for a job; it might be in terms of helping that person to make some move in life. That’s the time you must do it. That is the meaning of love. In the final analysis, love is not this sentimental something that we talk about. It’s not merely an emotional something. Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.
8. 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.
9. Without love, there is no reason to know anyone, for love will in the end connect us to our neighbors, our children and our hearts.
10. Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service… You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.
Excerpt from Wikipedia: Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968), was an American clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the African-American civil rights movement. His main legacy was to secure progress on civil rights in the United States and he is frequently referenced as a human rights icon today. King is recognized as a martyr by two Christian churches. A Baptist minister, King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, serving as its first president. King’s efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. There, he raised public consciousness of the civil rights movement and established himself as one of the greatest orators in U.S. history. (Continue reading at Wikipedia)
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Sayings by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
1. A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.
2. A lie cannot live.
3. A man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent.
#4 Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963
4. An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.
5. At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.
6. Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.
7. Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.
8. Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
#9 Loving Your Enemies, Christmas 1957
9. Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
10. 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.
11. Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
12. I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
13. If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values – that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.
14. It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.
15. Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.
16. Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.
17. Seeing is not always believing.
18. That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.
19. The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
20. The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.
#21 “Keep Moving from this Mountain” – Founders Day Address at the Sisters Chapel, Spelman College, 11 April 1960
21. We must keep moving. If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving.
22. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
23. Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.
24. Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.
25. 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.
26. Only in the darkness can you see the stars.
27. Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.
28. No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.
29. Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.
30. 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.
31. One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them.
32. I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.
33. 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.
34. No person has the right to rain on your dreams.
35. As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation – either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.
36. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?
37. 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.
38. If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.
39. I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.
40. We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there “is” such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.
41. We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers.
42. Whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can’t ride your back unless it is bent.
43. Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service.
44. It does not matter how long you live, but how well you do it.
45. The end of life is not to be happy, nor to achieve pleasure and avoid pain, but to do the will of God, come what may.
46. I said to my children, ‘I’m going to work and do everything that I can do to see that you get a good education. I don’t ever want you to forget that there are millions of God’s children who will not and cannot get a good education, and I don’t want you feeling that you are better than they are. For you will never be what you ought to be until they are what they ought to be.
47. You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.
48. 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.
49. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
50. If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.
51. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream.