Martin Luther King Jr. was a social activist and Baptist minister who played a vital role in the American civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. King sought equality and human rights for African Americans, the economically disadvantaged and all victims of injustice through peaceful protest.
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He was the driving force behind watershed events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the 1963 March on Washington, which helped bring about such landmark legislation as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.
Between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over 2500 times, appearing wherever there was an injustice, protest or action. Meanwhile, he wrote five books as well as numerous articles. He led a massive rally in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of the entire world. It was the cause that inspired his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” a manifesto of the revolution.
King Jr. planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of black people as voters. He also directed the peaceful march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people to whom he delivered his address, “l Have a Dream“. King conferred with President John F. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson. He was arrested twenty times and assaulted at least four times.
King Jr. was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963. He became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure. In 1964 at the age of thirty-five, King Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. He is remembered each year on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a U.S. federal holiday since 1986. King Jr. was highly inspired by the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.
Top 25 Most Powerful Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes:
1.“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
2. “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.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
3. “If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
4. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King Jr.
5. “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, 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 street sweeper who did his job well.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
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6. “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
7. “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.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
8. “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.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
9. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
10. “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.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
11. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
12. “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.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
13. “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. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige and even his life for the welfare of others.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
14. “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
15. “I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
16. “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.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
17. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
18. “Ten thousand fools proclaim themselves into obscurity, while one wise man forgets himself into immortality.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
19. “I have a dream…” – Martin Luther King Jr.
20. “When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
21. “All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
22. “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.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
23. “The time is always right to do the right thing.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
24. “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
25. “Lightning makes no sound until it strikes.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Which is your most inspirational Martin Luther King Jr. quote? Share with us in the comment below why you treasure that quote the most.