Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther
King, Jr.

American Clergyman, Activist, African-American Civil Rights Leader, Assassinated

Author Quotes

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.

A man can't ride your back unless it's bent.

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.

If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.

Our problem is not to be rid of fear but rather to harness and master it.

We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.

A life is sacred. Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being. It is part of the earth man walks on; it is not man.

Immoral means cannot bring moral ends, for the ends are pre-existent in the means.

Peace is not merely the absence of war, but the presence of justice.

We should never forget that everything Hitler did in German was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.”

A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.

It is the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually time is neutral. It can be used either destructively or constructively. I am coming to feel that the people of ill will have not used time much more effectively than the people of good will.

Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.

A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard.

It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.

So when in this day I see the leaders of nations again talking peace while preparing for war, I take fearful pause.

Alienation is a form of living death. It is the acid of despair that dissolves society.

Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the light and give up their unjust posture; but as Reinhold Niebuhr has remind us (Moral Men - Immoral Society), groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

The best way to solve a problem is to remove its cause.

All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.

Life at its best is a creative synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony.

The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.

All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality.

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.

The inseparable twin of racial injustice is economic injustice.

Author Picture
First Name
Martin Luther
Last Name
King, Jr.
Birth Date
Death Date

American Clergyman, Activist, African-American Civil Rights Leader, Assassinated