Martin Luther King Jr: 20 Quotes on Leadership, Education, Racism, Equality

By Benjamin Kim, Epoch Times
January 19, 2014 5:15 pm Last Updated: January 20, 2014 3:42 pm

Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday has passed, and in honor of his memory here are some quotes from his storied life.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”


Letter from Birmingham Jail, 16 April 1963

“I still have a dream this morning that one day all men everywhere will recognize that out of one blood God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth.”
The American Dream, July 4, 1965

“If I had sneezed, if I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been here in 1963, when the black people of Birmingham, Alabama, aroused the conscience of this nation and brought into being the Civil Rights Bill.”
I’ve Been to the Mountaintop speech, April 3, 1968 (the day before his assassination)

“How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? 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.”
16 April 1963, “Letter From Birmingham Jail”

“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.”
10 December 1964, Acceptance Speech at Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony

“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.”
10 December 1964, Acceptance Speech at Nobel Peace Prize Ceremon

“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”


I Have a Dream speech, August 28, 1963

“How do you go about loving your enemies? I think the first thing is this: In order to love your enemies, you must begin by analyzing self. And I’m sure that seems strange to you, that I start out telling you this morning that you love your enemies by beginning with a look at self.”
17 November 1957 – “Loving Your Enemies,” Sermon Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church

“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life–longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And so I’m happy tonight; I’m not worried about anything; I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”


I’ve Been to the Mountaintop speech, April 3, 1968 (the day before his assassination)

“… If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”
23 June 1963, Speech at the Great March on Detroit

“There is a little tree planted on a little hill and on that tree hangs the most influential character that ever came in this world. But never feel that that tree is a meaningless drama that took place on the stages of history.”
17 November 1957 – “Loving Your Enemies,” Sermon Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”


Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

“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.”


I Have a Dream speech, August 28, 1963

“I say to you, ‘I love you. I would rather die than hate you.’ And I’m foolish enough to believe that through the power of this love somewhere, men of the most recalcitrant bent will be transformed.”
17 November 1957 – “Loving Your Enemies,” Sermon Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church

“We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.”


Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

“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 Prize Acceptance Speech, December 10, 1964

“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”


Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963″

“I think by following this approach it will also help us to go into the new age that is emerging with the right attitude. For nonviolence not only calls upon its adherents to avoid external physical violence, but it calls upon them to avoid internal violence of spirit.”
23 June 1963, Speech at the Great March on Detroit

“The first saying we notice in this dream is an amazing universalism. It doesn’t say “some men,” it says “all men.” It doesn’t say “all white men,” it says “all men,” which includes black men. It does not say “all Gentiles,” it says “all men,” which includes Jews. It doesn’t say “all Protestants,” it says “all men,” which includes Catholics. (Yes, sir) It doesn’t even say “all theists and believers,” it says “all men,” which includes humanists and agnostics.”
The American Dream, July 4, 1965

“When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village 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!””

I Have a Dream speech, August 28, 1963