Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther
King, Jr.

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

Author Quotes

An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its justice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law.

Man has dual citizenry. He loves both in time and in eternity; both in heaven and on earth. But he owes his ultimate allegiance to God.

The saving of our world from pending doom will come not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.

At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love.

Men forget to ask: “What will God think?” And so they live in fear because they tend to seek social approval on the horizontal plane rather than spiritual devotion on the vertical plane.

The time is always right to do what’s right.

Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But, conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because one's conscience tells one that it is right.

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.

To accept passively an unjust system is to cooperate with that system; thereby the oppressed become as evil as the oppressor. Non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.

Every crisis has both its dangers and its opportunities. Each can spell either salvation or doom.

Nonviolence means that we will match your capacity to inflict pain with our capacity to endure it… We have the choice in this world today between nonviolence and nonexistence.

To deny a man a job is to say that a man has no right to exist.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has consistently refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to dramatize the issue so that it can no longer be ignored.

To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it.

Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work, time itself become an ally of the forces of social stagnation.

Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.

Today the choice is no longer between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence.

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final world in reality.

One day we shall win freedom, but not for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.

True pacifism is not nonresistance to evil, but nonviolent resistance to evil.

I have tried to make it clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends.

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever.

True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.

I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. 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.

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

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