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Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes

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.

Martin Luther King, Jr., The Trumpet of Conscience, 1967.



Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and
violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge,
aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Stockholm, Sweden, December 11, 1964.



Man was born into barbarism when killing his fellow man was a normal condition of existence. He became endowed with a
conscience. And he has now reached the day when violence toward another human being must become as abhorrent as eating
another's flesh.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Why We Can't Wait, 1963.

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The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of
civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant
animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.


[I]t is necessary to understand that Black Power is a cry of disappointment. The Black Power slogan did not spring full grown
from the head of some philosophical Zeus. It was born from the wounds of despair and disappointment. It is a cry of daily hurt
and persistent pain.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.


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.

Martin Luther King, Jr., speech, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, August 16, 1967.


When we ask Negroes to abide by the law, let us also declare that the white man does not abide by law in the ghettos. Day in
and day out he violates welfare laws to deprive the poor of their meager allotments; he flagrantly violates building codes and
regulations; his police make a mockery of law; he violates laws on equal employment and education and the provisions of civil
services. The slums are the handiwork of a vicious system of the white society; Negroes live in them, but they do not make
them, any more than a prisoner makes a prison.

Martin Luther King, Jr., The Trumpet of Conscience, 1967.

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.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Wall Street Journal, November 13, 1962.


Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies
hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction....The chain reaction
of evil--hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars--must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of
annihilation.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength To Love, 1963.


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.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963.

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.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength To Love, 1963.


Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963.

I am aware that there are many who wince at a distinction between property and persons--who hold both sacrosanct. My
views are not so rigid. 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.

Martin Luther King, Jr., The Trumpet of Conscience, 1967.


The bombs in Vietnam explode at home; they destroy the hopes and possibilities for a decent America.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.


We must combine the toughness of the serpent and the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963.


The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must
be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an
irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963.


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

Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.


The Negroes of America had taken the President, the press and the pulpit at their word when they spoke in broad terms of
freedom and justice. But the absence of brutality and unregenerate evil is not the presence of justice. To stay murder is not the
same thing as to ordain brotherhood.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.


Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten....America owes a debt of justice which it has
only begun to pay. If it loses the will to finish or slackens in its determination, history will recall its crimes and the country that
would be great will lack the most indispensable element of greatness--justice.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.


Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to
choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road
of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy.

Martin Luther King, Jr., The Measures of Man, 1959.


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