10 Martin Luther King Quotes for MLK Day

From the tradition that led to Barack Obama, Martin Luther King was among the most lyrical of leaders. He combined the tones of a preacher in the black southern tradition with the rhythms of a poet. Especially for MLK Day, here are some of his words.


Image by Gregory Manchess
1. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
2. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
3. “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.”
4. “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.”
5. “Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.”
6. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
7. “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”
8. “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.”
9. “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
10. “The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.”

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