Martin Luther King, Jr.

United States charismatic civil rights leader and Baptist minister who campaigned against the segregation of Blacks (1929-1968)

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...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. So I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man.
A man can't ride your back unless it's bent.
A man who won't die for something is not fit to live.
A nation that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.
All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.
All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate only love can do that.
Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them.
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.
Forgiveness is not an occasional act it is an attitude.
Hatred paralyzes life love releases it. Hatred confuses life love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life love illumines it.
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
I feel that we will continue to have a non-violent movement, and we will continue to find the vast majority of Negroes committed to non-violence, at least as the best tactical approach and from a pragmatic point of view as the best strategy in dealing with the problem of racial injustice. Realism impels me to admit, however, that when there is justice and the pursuit of justice, violence appears, and where there is injustice and frustration, the potentialities for violence are greater, and I would like to strongly stress the point that the more we can achieve victories through non-violence, the more it will be possible to keep the non-violent discipline at the center of the movement. But the more we find individuals facing conditions of frustration, conditions of disappointment and seething despair as a result of the slow pace of things and the failure to change conditions, the more it will be possible for the apostles of violence to interfere.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation when they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
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 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
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 today
I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice who constantly says 'I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action' who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for someone else's freedom who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a 'more convenient season.'
I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something he will die for, he isn't fit to live.
If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as 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 streetsweeper who did his job well.
If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played 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 streetsweeper who did his job well.
If you will protest courageously, and yet with dignity and Christian love, when the history books are written in future generations, the historians will have to pause and say, There lived a great people-a black people-who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization.
In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law ... That would lead to anarchy. An individual who breaks a law that his 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 law.
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhwre. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
It is my hope that as the Negro plunges deeper into the quest for freedom and justice he will plunge even deeper into the philosophy of non-violence. The Negro all over the South must come to the point that he can say to his white brother: We will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. We will not hate you, but we will not obey your evil laws. We will soon wear you down by pure capacity to suffer.
It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.
Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.
Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. the foundation of such a method is love.
Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.
Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and consciencious stupidity.
Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. 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.'
One of the greatest casualties of the war in Vietnam is the Great Society ... shot down on the battlefield of Vietnam.
One who condones evil is just as guilty as the one who perpetrates it.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Our loyalties must transend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation and this means we must develop a world perspective.
Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
Rarely do we find men who willingly to engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.
Segregation is the adultery of an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality.
Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority.
Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
Ten thousand fools proclaim themselves into obscurity, while one wise man forgets himself into immortality.
The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.
The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.
The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.
The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility.
The Negro needs the white man to free him from his fears. The white man needs the Negro to free him from his guilt.
The question is no longer between violence and non-violence it is between non-violence and non-existence.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.
We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now.
We must combine the toughness of the serpent and the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart.
We must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
We shall have to repent in this generation , not so much for the evil deeds of the wicked people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.
We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.
When you are right you cannot be too radical when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.

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